Wednesday, February 10, 2010
This past week I started blending one of of our Cabernet lots based on our previous bench-top trials. I have realized, that sometimes even an educated guess is still a guess. In such a situation one has to rely on their instincts.
The problem in question was to determine whether or not wines have modularity. That is, can the parts of similar wines fit together to make the end result more complete and fully functioning? I can now answer that with an unequivocal yes! Also, as long as the framework provided by the acid and therefore the pHs are similar this hypothesis holds true. Essentially, I had a Cabernet that needed balance in the middle but more wine than I needed to complete the task. That is where the guesswork came in.
I wanted only a small part filled and to not dominate the entire palate. The blend resulted in a 4:1 ratio of the two wines and it integrated perfectly, smoothing the surface on the palate much in the way one would repave a pothole on the road!
I mentioned this to a friend of my mine the other day and he asked me why does it matter since everything will go together anyway? The reasoning and the importance of early blending is for the benefit of integration. It is much easier to combine two wines to address an issue than to throw everything together and hope for the best. There is extra security in knowing that each wine is tightly woven, seamless and balanced before moving on to the next step.
The methodology of modularity is deceptively simple but I am beginning to believe that it is the reason why VELLUM is so approachable in its youth however built for years to come. When I move on to the next blend and then ultimately to bottling I will readdress this technique and concept. There may even be a lucky few of you out there who may have the rare opportunity to barrel taste the 2008 vintage before its release! If the stars align in such an event we will post your feedback here!
- Karl Lehmann, Winemaker
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