Wine Grape Varieties: Blends

Via blending, a winemaker can structure the palate profile of a wine to best represent their particular wine style.

Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet Sauvignon is often blended with Merlot to give us Cabernet Merlot. The robust tannins of the Cabernet Sauvignon are softened by the addition of Merlot, producing a full-bodied, fruit driven wine with a lingering softness on the finish.

Cabernet Sauvignon bunches are small and conical with small, bluish, thick-skinned berries. The ratio of skin to juice is high in these smaller berries, delivering plenty of colour when extraction occurs during winemaking. The resultant wines can be quite tannic and highly coloured.

Cabernet Sauvignon is not particularly suited to cooler climates, though the grassy and vegetal characteristics derived from cool to cold climate vineyards can be lessened by increasing the level of sunlight within the canopy through improved trellising.

Merlot bunches are loose with thick-skinned, small to medium blue-black berries. Merlot grows best in cool to warm climates. Lower yielding vines tend to produce grapes with higher natural acidity and a greater intensity of riper fruit characters and more tannins.

Aromas (by nose) and flavours (by mouth)

Primary fruit characters include: capsicum, tomato leaf, herbaceous, cinnamon, menthol, eucalyptus, leafy, minty, violet, perfumed, dusty, berry, plum, stewed rhubarb, cooked beetroot, blackcurrant, black olive, prune, liquorice and inky.

Developed fruit characters include: earthy, meaty, truffles, dusty, cigar-box, cedar, chocolate, tobacco, coffee and mocha.

Characters derived from winemaking include:

Barrel fermentation / barrel storage – spice, coconut, smoky, chocolate, vanilla, pencil shavings, sawdust, toast, cedar, black olives, bacon, dusty, nuts, cashew, burnt and toffee.

The Influence of Winemaking

Some Cabernet Sauvignon wines have a structural hollow, referred to by tasters as a "doughnut effect". The flavour weight is obvious when the wine enters the mouth and on the finish but there is little depth in the middle of the palate. This is where blending comes into play. Winemakers use other varietals to improve the middle palate and to soften the impact of the tannins. Merlot is used to give a more rounded mouth-feel and to add softness to the palate. The flexibility to blend across varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon with Merlot enables winemakers to craft a wine of a desired style and quality.

Learn more about the varieties of grapes that make great wine visit Wyndham Estate

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