Blending for Better Wine

Think Blending-Not Varietals ~ Bert Dunn

A lot of people know about Canadian wine, but some still think its too cold for wine grapes. In much of Canada it is too cold for the wine grapes that we’re familiar with. But hardy wine growers tend hardy grapes in the Great White North, and they make good wine by blending. Varietals that survive and ripen in cold climates may not be able to rival traditional wine grapes on their own, but if you blend good components, the whole can be greater than the sum of the parts. I think fruit wine makers have something to learn from this and we can up our game by blending.

Three simple wines and some thoughts on blending them

I’ve made apple wine for years, but my recipe for a simple step by step apple wine recipe is more recent. It started with a comment from Leslie asking for a simple recipe. A quick answering comment grew up into a blog post: Leslie’s Apple Wine Recipe. I made this wine and I’m really happy with it; it’s an easy drinking white with good flavor and aroma. I plan to make more, lots more, but I’ve also been thinking about blending it with other “grocery store wines.”

Like my white wine from Welch’s grape juice. If you haven’t made this, you really should – it’ll surprise you. Here’s the recipe: Bailout Blanc. It’s cheap, easy (not like that! easy to make) and versatile. Pop open a bottle when neighbors drop by on a summer afternoon. Use it to top up almost any other wine you make. Not sure if that new white you brought home is worth buying more? Blind taste it against some Welch’s Wine. If it can’t clear that hurdle, and some can’t, you have your answer. It costs less than $1/bottle, and for that you get a lot. But you don’t get everything. For one thing, the aroma is lacking. Might blending produce a wine with better aroma? Maybe a little complexity? One idea is blending with apple wine, which has good flavor and aroma.

Another is to blend it with Produce Department Chablis. I made a balanced wine with no faults and nice aroma that was bland. Maybe blending it with Welch’s Wine would produce good flavor and aroma – a better wine than each was individually. I haven’t made wine from supermarket grapes again, but I might – if only to see what sort of alchemy I can cook up by blending it.

Have you tried blending? How’d it turn out? I’d love to hear about it.

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3 thoughts on “Blending for Better Wine

  1. John Hance

    I have thought about blending the bailout blanc (which was a bit below everyone’s palates, I’m afraid) with my honeysuckle wine which suffers from stuck fermentation at the moment. It would sweeten the welch’s wine and fortify the low-alcohol honeysuckle. I just wonder what this will do to the flavor profile. I’ll let you know!

    – John Hance

  2. John Hance

    Well, I blended one 750 ml bottle of the honeysuckle wine (about 7% abv) with the last 750 ml bottle of the Bailout Blanc I made from your recipe, albeit at too high an alcohol level to make it palatable for us (at 16.5%, if memory serves), and the results are in. My wife Amy loved it so much she drank both bottles (not all at once, of course) without sharing! I did manage to get a glass of it, though, and I thought it was pretty decent. Not my best wine, but certainly better blended than the two constituents were by themselves. I have since bottled the rest of the honeysuckle. It’s very low alcohol and high sweetness make it place lower on my list than the other wines I have bottled, so maybe this will make for nice gifts. Thanks for all the helpful advice and guidance, Erroll!

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