Blending is a specificity of many French wines and for some it turns out to be an art in its own right. This method consists of mixing different grape varieties or different cuvées together to obtain the best possible wine. There are many "bi-varietal" wines. However, the blends can accommodate up to 13 different grape varieties in some regions. Domaine du Goût tells you more below.

Why make an assembly?

In oenology, the blending method makes it possible to obtain richer and more complete wines. Indeed, by assembling complementary grape varieties one seeks to obtain the best result. You should know that there are more than 200 grape varieties to make wines in France. All these grape varieties do not have the same aromatic and taste characteristics. Also, to be sublimated, certain grape varieties need to be associated with others in order to give a more attractive product. Thus, we can choose to achieve the right balance by enriching the aromatic range, by adjusting the tannins or liveliness. The practice of blending can also make it possible to restore the typicity of a wine from one year to the next depending on the harvest. In this way we will seek to transcribe the character that contributes to the reputation of a wine to guarantee the consumer a similarity in the characteristics of the wine, from one year to another. This practice therefore makes it possible to offer wines with different profiles in order to adapt to audiences who do not have the same tastes and the same preferences.

The different types of assemblies.

There are three types of assemblies:

  • The blends of grape varieties
  • Vintage blends
  • Blends of terroirs or plots

The blends of grape varieties consist in mixing different grape varieties in order to obtain a wine. This technique originates from the practice of complantation . Or, the fact of planting on the same vineyard different grape varieties in order to harvest and vinify them together. Nowadays, the grape varieties are planted on different plots and are blended after the harvest. The blend of grape varieties is very popular in the Bordeaux region and in Languedoc Roussillon. The blending of vintages results from the fact of blending wines with a different harvest year. In this case, the rule is that you do not have to indicate the vintage (year) on the bottle. The blend of vintages is particularly renowned in the manufacture of Champagne wines and is even considered one of the trademarks of these wines. Finally, the assembly of terroirs (or plots), is a practice in which the wine is made up of one and the same grape variety but which, depending on the age of the vines, the orientation, the soil and the type of breeding will be expressed differently. This blend is mainly practiced in the Loire and Burgundy which are so -called "single varietal " regions where most of the wines come from a single grape variety. In Burgundy, for example, there are many 100% Pinot Noir wines.

At what stage of the vinification do we proceed to the assembly?

It depends on the winegrowers, but two methods are opposed. Some of the winegrowers will choose to age wines from different grape varieties together. The assembly is then carried out directly after the harvest, as soon as it is placed in the vat. Others will choose to harvest and vinify each grape separately. Then they assemble them before bottling the wine. This last method makes it possible to find the best proportion of one grape variety compared to another. It also makes it possible to create several different cuvées.

Where do we assemble?

In France, you should know that many regions practice blending. However, some regions practice blending more than others. This is particularly the case with Bordeaux. Indeed, the assembly of grape varieties is a centuries-old tradition for the region. Practiced like an art for many, it is the specificity of the great Bordeaux wines to obtain a perfect balance between grape varieties. Champagne is also known to be a blended wine, but it is a special case since the Champagne region has all the rights in terms of blending. We thus assemble vintages with different characteristics, different grape varieties, even going so far as to assemble together red and white grape varieties (the only region in France where this is allowed). Finally, the assembly of different vintages, associating the wine of the year with those of wines from previous years, is also a strong characteristic of Champagnes wines. Note that Alsace, like Burgundy, is not famous for blending, but for working exclusively with a single varietal.