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5. Comprehending blending

Comprehending Blending

This month we're looking into the complex world of blends. We'll be finding out why we make blends of wine and how wines from different grapes, sites and production techniques can all impact the style of a blended wine. 

This month we've got two videos for you - the regular version and then a shorter 20 minute version for those who want to whizz through the tasting notes quickly and then enjoy the wines at their own pace. 

If you're really in a hurry - you can just take a look at the tasting notes below to give you an overview of each of the wines. Click here to rate the wines you did and din't like and we'll start feeding this information into your personal tasting profile so you can get a better idea of the styles of wine that are for you. 

Featured Wines

No. One

100% Shiraz (Syrah)

Country: Australia
Region: Barossa Valley
Sub-Region: n/a
Producer: Peter Lehmann
Year: 2018
ABV: 14.5%

Contains Sulphites

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Known as Shiraz in warmer climates and Syrah when it's produced in a cooler climate style - this grape gives us intense black fruit flavours regardless of where it's from. If you like this style - Barossa has a tonne of rich, ripe examples - but if you prefer something a little more acidic, with more black pepper and graphite - check out northern Rhone Syrahs.  

No. Two

100% Garnacha (Grenache)

Country: Spain
Region: Navarra
Sub-Region: n/a
Producer: Bodegas Aroa
Year: 2020
ABV: 14%

Contains Sulphites

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Garnacha makes relatively straightforward wines, with big red fruit flavours, high tannins and high alcohol. The cooler climate here gives this one a decent acidity as well. If you're a fan of this - check out single varietal Garnacha wines from Spain and also the Southern Rhone in France. 

No. Three

Rhone Blend (Syrah / Grenache)

Country: France
Region: Southern Rhone
Sub-Region: Gigondas
Producer: Grapillon d'Or
Year: 2018
ABV: 15%

Contains Sulphites

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The only red grape allowed in the Northern Rhone is Syrah - but here in the Southern Rhone it's all about blends. The classic Rhone blend focuses mainly on Syrah, Grenache & Mourvedre - with a supporting cast of many other grapes.Châteauneuf-du-Pape is the area's most prestigious appellation but you can often find better value inVacqueyras and Gigondas or the widerCôtes du Rhône. 

No. Four

Valpolicella Ripasso

Country: Italy
Region: Veneto
Sub-Region: Valpolicella
Producer: Corte Giara
Year: 2018
ABV: 13.5%

Contains Sulphites

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Valpolicella makes a number of different wines, from the simple, everyday wines (Valpolicella & Superiore) to the unusual wines made from air dried grapes (Amarone and Rectioto). Here we have a ripasso - a mix of the two styles with the fresh cherry and fruit from the regular wines, but also some unusual complexity from the dried grapes. 

No. Five

Rioja Reserva

Country: Spain
Region: Rioja
Sub-Region: n/a
Producer: Ramon Bilbao
Year: 2015
ABV: 14%

Contains Sulphites

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The region of Rioja are big on their blends. The young wines (Joven & Crianza) are fresh and fruity whereas the older wines (like this Reserva and also Gran Reservas) spend long periods of time in oak barrels giving them complex aromas of spice, coconut, leather and mushroom. 

No. Six

Douro Tinto

Country: Portugal
Region: Douro
Sub-Region: n/a
Producer: Quinta do Infantado
Year: 2016
ABV: 14%

Contains Sulphites

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Portugal are most famous for their port wines, but when you make dry reds out of the same grapes you get intense flavours and very heavy tannins. The region is becoming more popular - so if you're looking for a great value wine, with big black fruit flavours to pair well with heavy meat dishes - look no further.