Advice sought: 'Bordeaux style' blends

Advice sought: 'Bordeaux style' blends

Post by Ric » Sun, 06 May 2007 04:51:25



Am planning on this next season's crush and winemaking, and am seriously
considering making a 'Bordeaux style' blend. Have got access to
excellent Merlot and Cabernet Franc grapes -  still working on finding access
to high quality Cabernet Sauvignon. Interested in any advice from others
with experience trying to make similar.
Some areas of interest:

- Harvest numbers - anything out of the ordinary? Should I be targeting
certain sugar and/or acid numbers?
- Blending - when do you consider best? 'Field' blended? Right after
primary? After all fermentation has stopped (secondary and MLF)?
- Do you use a Pearson's square or similar and try to achieve any
particular balances?
TIA for any and all advice.

Ric
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Advice sought: 'Bordeaux style' blends

Post by Joe Sallusti » Sun, 06 May 2007 05:48:30


Field blends are common in France but they literally grow different
varieties in different areas of the vineyard based on terroir.  They
have had a whole lot of time to figure out what works best where.

I usually blend cab sauvignon and cab franc because the acids balance;
the cab sauvignon is a little on the low side and the cab franc is
higher.  It's usually 2 to one cab sauv.  I rarely blend preferment
unless something is way out of whack, like acids.  Blending post
ferment seems to  the way to go initially until you know your sources
of grapes well.  I blend by ratios based on tasting trials, I usually
figure out which wines are worst and start working others into them.
I work with ordinary quality grapes and juice but you might be
surprised how well these can come out with a little blending.  I
almost always add Syrah too but that is out of style with Bordeaux.

Joe

 
 
 

Advice sought: 'Bordeaux style' blends

Post by Paul E. Lehman » Sun, 06 May 2007 20:07:52


Quote:

> Am planning on this next season's crush and
> winemaking, and am seriously considering making
> a 'Bordeaux style' blend. Have got access to
> excellent Merlot and Cabernet Franc grapes -
> still working on finding access to high quality
> Cabernet Sauvignon. Interested in any advice
> from others with experience trying to make
> similar. Some areas of interest:

If you have Merlot and Cabernet Franc, you really
don't need Cab Sauvignon.  In one part of
Bordeaux the wine is made from just those two
grapes with Merlot being the base.  In another
part of Bordeaux, Cab. Sauv. is the base.  From
my experience, it will take longer for a Cab.
Sauv. to age out but you will have more tannins
and the wine will probably keep longer.  My
favorite blend for the past few years has been
just Cabernet Franc and Merlot but now I have
some Cabernet Sauvignon coming on in my vineyard
so I will be experimenting.

Quote:
> - Harvest numbers - anything out of the
> ordinary? Should I be targeting certain sugar
> and/or acid numbers? - Blending - when do you
> consider best? 'Field' blended? Right after
> primary? After all fermentation has stopped
> (secondary and MLF)? - Do you use a Pearson's
> square or similar and try to achieve any
> particular balances? TIA for any and all advice.

> Ric
> --

Until you are sure of your grapes and taste, I
recommend making the wines separately and then
blending.  Where I live, the Merlot matures a
couple weeks before the Cabernet Franc so field
blending is not practical.
 
 
 

Advice sought: 'Bordeaux style' blends

Post by Ric » Mon, 07 May 2007 00:06:37


Thanks Paul - I had the same thought - making a 'Right bank' style
Merlot-based blend. I think you've convinced me. You and Joe both suggest
that the blending be done post-fermentation, when I can do bench trials, so
there it is - I have a plan. Best part is - I have access to top
quality Merlot and Cab Franc already!
Should be fun - thanks gents.

Quote:

>If you have Merlot and Cabernet Franc, you really
>don't need Cab Sauvignon.  In one part of
>Bordeaux the wine is made from just those two
>grapes with Merlot being the base.  In another
>part of Bordeaux, Cab. Sauv. is the base.  From
>my experience, it will take longer for a Cab.
>Sauv. to age out but you will have more tannins
>and the wine will probably keep longer.  My
>favorite blend for the past few years has been
>just Cabernet Franc and Merlot but now I have
>some Cabernet Sauvignon coming on in my vineyard
>so I will be experimenting.

>> - Harvest numbers - anything out of the
>> ordinary? Should I be targeting certain sugar
>> and/or acid numbers? - Blending - when do you
>> consider best? 'Field' blended? Right after
>> primary? After all fermentation has stopped
>> (secondary and MLF)? - Do you use a Pearson's
>> square or similar and try to achieve any
>> particular balances? TIA for any and all advice.

>> Ric
>> --

>Until you are sure of your grapes and taste, I
>recommend making the wines separately and then
>blending.  Where I live, the Merlot matures a
>couple weeks before the Cabernet Franc so field
>blending is not practical.

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