The Art of The Blend
Wine is a world of sensations, and while winemaking is equal parts of art and science, one of the most unspoken yet most essential elements is the art of the blend.
Did you know that each bottle is a blend? Be it a single varietal or a combination of a few; each wine is the culmination of many different components, where the whole is indeed more significant than the sum of its parts.
During harvest, we take care to treat each block, and often small parts within blocks, individually. This means many smaller ‘batches’ to take care of. However, it allows us to treat each component on its merit, giving us multiple building blocks for our final wine.
Now that #Harvest2021 is physically complete in the vineyards, in the cellar, we can begin to taste through each of these individual ‘batches’, tracking their development and deciding on what will allow them to develop to their fullest potential – this includes decisions on lees contact, barrel selections, etc. We will leave each of these batches to mature individually, and after a few months (or a year in some cases), the blending process will begin.
A task that can feel never-ending at times, and while highly technical, it is also a non-linear process. How does adding two per cent of a specific lot to the blend work, yet four per cent does not? It is a bit like building a massive puzzle – each component, big or small, brings its unique characteristics to the table. Our job is to see how best to fit these pieces together, to form one complete, seamless picture of the year, the terroir and the wine.
For this process, a sample bottle of each individual batch is drawn; these are then tasted next to each other and comments are made on each. From here, the blending starts – a ‘base’ component is selected, and slowly different components are added to it to fill out the wine, not dissimilar to colouring in a drawing. No two blending sessions are the same, some can be completed in mere minutes, and others are completed over days or weeks. It really is a matter of letting the wine lead you. It is a collaborative and enjoyable effort across the estate, with the team tasting and discussing each component and variations of the blend before our Cellarmaster determines the final blend; one that is the culmination of years and months of planning, farming and tending too.