One of the most enjoyable times in the winemaking process is the final blending. We’re right in the middle of that time now with all the 2015 Shiraz being removed from barrel and blended to their final destination wines over the next few weeks.
The reason this process is so enjoyable? Well, many may think it’s down to the frequent tasting of individual barrels, up to 70 a day! Certainly that’s good fun and a great opportunity to recap on the tastings throughout the year to see how the oak is finally marrying with the fruit on numerous parcels. But the real joy of the process is the magic of blending. Tinkering about with different combinations of barrels then 2% of this parcel or 1% of that parcel I’m always amazed by the surprising positive and negative effects that come about. I may have a couple of parcels that I love and think they would look great together – sometimes it works beautifully as planned but sometimes it just falls flat. Equally, a quick blend that may be a bit of a ‘hit and hope’ turns out to absolutely sing and suddenly everything’s easy!
I guess this is where the science of winemaking gives way to the craft. It’s not maths at this stage, 2+2 could equal 3 or it could equal 7, it’s a slow and deliberate process of trials (and errors!) with the hope of a beautiful end result.