Back to Wine Basics with “Blends”
All of my friends know that my wine of choice always includes bubbles – pink ones if I’m to be completely honest about it. But, having said that, I just love a good bottle, white or red, just not sweet and chewy – ever! Something that not everyone knows, however, is that just because a bottle has a specific grape name on the label (Chardonnay or Cabernet Sauvignon) that bottle may not and often is not the only grape in that bottle.
Wine makers often add in other grapes to create the flavor profile they want to create in that bottle. The law actually allows up to 25% other grapes in the bottle for blending. So, very often the grape name on the label is only 75% of what is actually in the bottle. Having said all of that, I think that the blending makes wines way more interesting. So, just because a wine isn’t 100% of a specific grape doesn’t mean it’s still not a great wine.
Silver Oak Winery
Silver Oak Winery makes an amazing Cabernet Sauvignon. In fact, it’s the only varietal that they do make! They also use small amounts of other varietals in their Napa blend- Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Petit Verdot. I don’t really care what they use, their Napa Valley Cabernet is always so velvety smooth and delicious! It’s a little pricey but I’m never sorry I spent the extra dollars on this one.
Long Meadow Ranch Winery Cab
Last Saturday, I got to do one of my favorite things – An impromptu casual dinner with a girlfriend. We just made some pasta and salad but I had a 2008 Long Meadow Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon that we shared. It was a real treat. I let it breathe for about 20-30 minutes and it was amazing! This cabernet is one of the “blends” that I mentioned that has more than 75% Cabernet Sauvignon grape, it’s 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot and 3% Cabernet Franc (a common blending grape). Besides making wonderful Cabernets, the Winery is California Certified Organic! How cool is that?
One of the perks of being a restaurant owner is that I get to visit some fabulous wineries and drink wine with some very interesting people. One of these is Chateau Montelena. This is the winery that produced the Chardonnay that beat out all of the French entries in the 1976 Paris competition, which was immortalized in the 2008 movie, Bottle Shock. But, the wine that they make that I really enjoy is their Cabernet Sauvignon, and fortunately, I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying several of their vintages. They have, in fact, several wine clubs specifically for their Cabernet Sauvignons. What a great way to make sure that you don’t miss a great vintage.