I love a good blend. I’m not talking about the bland, throw-together-whatever-we-have-leftover blends. Thanks, I’ll pass on those. I’m talking about the perfectly balanced masterpieces of vino. I’m talking about the blends that in one sniff, swirl and swallow celebrate the unique attributes of each varietal in a single, powerful union. Maybe it comes from my sports background or maybe because it’s impossible to turn on the T.V. right now without running into another March Madness game. (I’m not bitter the Gators beat my Gauchos…no, not at all.) Blends are like an all-star varietal team. Sure you could have a team of Zin power forwards dunking fruit bombs all day, but who’s going to run the court and bring some color balance to that game? Now throw a little Petite Sirah point guard in the mix, maybe a Grenache guard, and now you’re talking a power team!
Why blend? According to one of the blend’s best, Moonstone Cellars (featured at this Thursday’s 3/31 tasting), color and balance are the top two reasons. Blending can brighten up a wine, smooth the acidity, balance the alcohol level, and bring complexity to the palate.
In our opinion, Paso Robles has taking the blend to a true art form and has a bounty of blends to pick from. We thought we’d share a few of our favorites for your all-star vino team consideration.
- Justin 2007 Isosceles
A big money player, but packs a punch worth the ticket. Offers an opaque, dense purple-black core with little color change to the rim. The nose brings black and blue fruit, firm but inviting oak notes of cinnamon and nutmeg, and a sense of just-roasted dark-roast coffee beans with a later note of dark cocoa, a dash of black pepper, and a drop of vanilla. The palate reveals an immensely flavored wine, repeating the black fruit intensity and powerful tannins.The roster: 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Merlot, and 3% Petit Verdot
- Chronic Cellars 2009 Sofa King Bueno
Not every player demands a huge contract; Chronic Cellars’ 09 Sofa King Bueno brings power playing for an approachable price. Offering juicy fruits, Bing cherries and ripe blackberries followed up by notes of toasted vanilla, cinnamon spice and clove. Consistent flavor, well-integrated fruit and delicate tannins. Mouth-filling and seductive with no hard edges.The roster: 27% Petite Sirah, 25% Syrah, 20% Tempranillo, 14% Grenache, 10% Mourvedre and 4% Tennat
- Herman Story 2008 Tomboy - 90 Points, Robert Parker!
Who said all great blends are reds? Not us! Herman Story’s 08 90 point white is a full-flavored, balls-to-the-walls, intensively flavored blend. The 08 Tomboy blend brings balance to the court with a powerful, rich white blend of marmalade and tropical fruit aromatics to a boat load of glycerin and concentration. Drink over the next 1-2 years.The roster: 40% Marsanne, 40% Roussanne, and 20% Viognier
So who makes your roster?