The Blend Trend | Your Top Blends
Blending wines of different varieties and vineyards has been practised for centuries. It involves combining different wine varietals to create a rounded, flavoursome and distinctive wine that is better than any of the wines separately on their own. From Cabernet Merlots to Semillon Sauvignon Blanc, winemakers worldwide are becoming more adventurous and innovative with their blending techniques – creating wonderfully unique wine blends to entice the palate.
If there were any rules in the winemaking game, it's becoming clear that they were made to be broken. Winemakers in the New World are increasingly creating daring blends from grapes not traditionally combined, creating new and exciting flavour and aroma profiles.
Why? Wine blends tend to offer more complexity than single varietal wines, and many excellent wines, whether from Rioja, Bordeaux, Champagne, California, South Africa, or Australia, thrive on blending. Wines can be blended from multiple vintages of the same grape from the same vineyard; the same grape variety from a different region; two or more different grape varieties; or a combination of red and white grapes.
Some of the world's and Australia's greatest wines are made from a blend of grapes rather than a single varietal - including the great Bordeaux and Rhône red blends of France. It's also no secret that Penfold's Grange, Australia's most revered red wine, is a Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon blend made with grapes from a variety of South Australian wine regions. Another example is Champagne - this most famous sparkling wine blend uses two or more grape varietals. However, the grape varieties of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Meunier are the only ones allowed to be used in French Champagne.
At its most basic, winemakers blend wine made from different grapes to add more complexity to the flavour and texture of the wine. Both reds and whites can be made from blends of varietals. In some cases, they may even blend whites and reds to create the best possible combination of aromas and flavours. An example of this is blending the white Viognier variety with Shiraz – resulting in changes to the final colour intensity and flavour of the wine. Perhaps the most famous white wine blend (at least in Australia) is Semillon Sauvignon Blanc. Sauvignon Blanc is more aromatic, juicy and intensely flavoured, while Semillon adds a richer body, lower acidity and slightly savoury notes - two sides of a coin that complement each other perfectly.
In Australia, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon are two main red grape varieties that form the base of most red blends, and these are often blended together to produce some of the greatest Australian wines ever made. These wines are complex and robust with incredible ageing potential. Often the two varieties are taken from different regions to create extra levels of ripeness and layers of complexity Apart from Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon's main blending partner is usually Merlot, sometimes with lesser amounts of Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. Each of these blending partners brings something unique to Cabernet-based blends: Merlot adds richness, along with plum and violet characters and a silky texture; Cabernet Franc gives an aromatic lift and tight pepper, spice and red berry characters; Malbec gives weight and dark fruit flavours while Petit Verdot delivers fragrance and rich dark fruit flavours.
Australian Shiraz makes a great red blending partner and provides numerous flavour and texture options that are multiplied exponentially by the variety of regions and blending possibilities. There are many Shiraz Grenache blends now available, and many feature Mourvèdre. These blending partners come together to make medium to full-bodied wines that are spicy, complex and with enough structure to age well into the medium term.
Sangiovese is another wine that is often blended with Shiraz. The savoury nature of the Sangiovese grape is enriched by the bold and robust nature of Shiraz, coming together to create a rich, complex and spicy wine.
It's an exciting time for Australian wine. Australian blends are tasting better than ever, and winemakers are becoming ever more adventurous - producing modern Australian wine styles that are stimulating palates around the world with intricate and exciting flavour combinations that assure an exciting future for the Australian wine industry.
LDR Vineyard Shiraz Touriga 2019
Trophy winner of the ‘Best Single Vineyard Red’ at the 2021 Hunter Wine Show. Planted in 2008 on the heavy clay soils of our family vineyard this wine has become a signature for De Iuliis. This unique blend of savoury Hunter Shiraz and aromatic Touriga Nacional is well balanced, with structure and complexity.
TASTING Medium red, with a vibrant purple hue. Aromatics of intense cherry spice and potpourri. A rich palate of boysenberry, plum and blackcurrants framed by savoury earthiness. Finely grained tannins, ripe plums and blackberries round out the long palate.
FOOD MATCH BBQ Beef brisket cooked low and slow, with smoky baked beans and creamy mash.
CELLARING Drinking well now but will continue to improve with 5 plus years further cellaring.
2019 il Gallo Canaglia [the rogue rooster]
In the foothills of Broke Fordwich, long hot summers make premier Sangiovese and Merlot. Unlike our friends in Tuscany, we believe blending them 50:50 tastes just right. Gracefully old and low-yielding vines have produced a dry & savoury wine with balanced tannins, gentle oak and elegant notes of cherry, raspberry and tomato leaf. Enjoy slightly chilled (if you so desire…)
TASTING Vibrant acidity, dry and savoury wine with balanced tannins, gentle oak and elegant notes of cherry, raspberry and tomato leaf.
FOOD MATCH Match with rare steaks, roasted chicken, rustic roasted pork mushroom dishes, gnocchi with sage and butter, red chicory with aged pecorino.
CELLARING Cellar for 5 to 15 years.
TAMBURLAINE ORGANIC WINES
Wine Lovers Full House
The 2019 Wine Lovers Full House’s vintage is Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, and Merlot, harvested between late February and March. The grapes are grown in the cool climate vineyards of Wrattonbully, SA and Central Ranges, NSW.
TASTING Perfumed with blackcurrant and dark cherry. The palate is spiced plum and vanilla.
FOOD MATCH Best paired with late nights and laughter.
CELLARING Up to 5 years, keep away from strong light, at a cool, contact temperature <15°.
BRIAR RIDGE VINEYARD
2021 Tempranillo Shiraz
Made in the traditional Spanish ‘Joven’ style. Minimal oak treatment used with the purpose to express the fruitfulness of the Hunter grown varieties. Can be served chilled or room temperature.
TASTING Out of the ordinary for a Tempranillo dominant wine. Ripe cherry and assorted red berries with a subtle earthiness on the nose. A little lighter on the palate however held together by crunchy acidity and soft tannins.
FOOD MATCH Smoked brisket or woodfired pizzas.
CELLARING Drink now or cellar up to 5 years.
James Peter ‘The Cabernets 2016’
This wine is a further development of the highly regarded style we have been producing since 2005. Its base is a blend of Hunter estate grown Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc wines, each of which were matured in French and American oak barrels prior to the final blending. The wine has been given further complexity by the addition of a small percentage of our estate Shiraz.
TASTING The combination has produced a smooth and beautifully balanced dry wine with distinct blackberry and raspberry flavours, together with overtones of herbs and eucalyptus. This is a sophisticated red wine that is drinking superbly and is developing well in the bottle.
FOOD MATCH Pair with Asian style pork chops or perhaps delicious barbeque pulled pork sandwiches.
CELLARING It already has some age and will cellar well for at least another 5 years.
Heavy Metal Shiraz Cabernet 2019
The Heavy Metal is a quintessential Australian blend of Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon, sure to satisfy those always on the hunt for bigger styles of red. The 2019 vintage produced fruit of excellent quality, so you can expect powerful blackcurrant alongside toasty vanilla oak, all wrapped up in finegrained tannins.
TASTING Alluring bright ruby hues. Gentle pine needles accented with mint and cassis on the nose. Powerful blackcurrant fruit pops on the palate revealing fine tannins integrated with vibrant sustained fruits and a lingering vanilla finish.
FOOD MATCH With a Shiraz Cabernet blend, it's tough to go past a classic pairing of barbecued
meats. Whether it's beef steak, lamb sausages or kangaroo, the wine's powerful fruit will complement the bold flavours and smokey char perfectly.
CELLARING Cellar for 5 to 10 years.