Friday, August 15, 2014

How-To: Tell What Wines are in a Blend

Americans like to know what wine they are drinking. While the Old World labels their wine based on region, sure in the knowledge that everyone knows the grape that ends up in a Burgundy or a Barolo, in the New World we want our wines to be labeled by the varietal.

In most cases, that's easy enough. But when it comes to blended wines, its not always so straight forward. A blend may be made up of a range of grapes, so the wine makers will often use a proprietary name useful for marketing, but not always informative. But there are tricks you can use to help pick out the grapes.

Look for typical styles: Bordeaux or Meritage blends are typical, made of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. Champagne will be made from Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier.

Labeled: Since Americans demand the info, many wine makers will include the list of varietals used. It may be hidden on the back label, but especially with New World wines it may be there.

Guess: If you know a bit about wine, you can start to guess what grapes make up a blend. In a red wine, soft red fruit flavors might be a high percentage Merlot or Pinot Noir, while a buttery white wine might be based on a Chardonnay.

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