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NorCal Wine Blog

Sure, Vinny... And you blend!

That’s one of my favorite lines from the movie “My Cousin Vinny.” As Vinny discovers, blending isn’t always easy, but it can be rewarding. And the CrushPad FuseBox makes blending wine fun and as easy as possible. You’re practically guaranteed to produce a tasty wine that won’t stick out like a black-clad Brooklyn lawyer in a tiny southern town.

got to experience the process first hand as a competitor in Crushpad’s FuseBox BlendOff contest. Armed with a Napa Valley Bordeaux-varietal Fusebox kit plus my own glasses, spit cup and well-worn nose, I set out to create a wine that would knock socks off, gently.
The competition was stiff. Too stiff it turns out. Social media master Hardy Wallace was Goode enough to be first. Again. What is it with that guy? And Erica Green apparently has a tremendous palate behind her Purple Teeth. Nicely done, nice blogger people!
I’d like to say the blending was hard work. That would make winemakers everywhere happy. But, the FuseBox kit makes it straightforward. You get good component wines, pipettes, graduated cylinder, advice, famous “recipes” and more. Apparently, the only thing I needed that they didn’t include was a better palate. Oh, and I had to provide my own raincoat, goggles, and rubber gloves. I can’t imagine why Crushpad doesn’t put those in the kit...
In tasting through the components, I found the Cabernet Sauvignon to be a good “base” wine. It just needed something else to frame it nicely. The Merlot was nicely fruity. Ironically, my first blend was similar to Hardy’s winner. I went 70% Cab and 30% Merlot. But, rather than continue in that direction and just dial back the Merlot, I went and fell in love with the Cab Franc and Petit Verdot.
I found the Cabernet Franc to have some very nice smooth tannins and a bunch of yummy caramel. The Petite Verdot had loads of beautiful color, but also strong tannins and some really nice floral and spicy notes. I was really hoping to capture the spice and dark flowers. Unfortunately, I reconfirmed what I already knew. A little bit of Petite Verdot goes a long way. With large portions of it in the blend, the spice and floral was muted but the tannins were beating me with a rubber hose. So, I cut way back on the PV.
In the end, I also cut way back on the Cab Franc. I left some in there for interest. Too much I suspect. I think there was too much of the caramel. My final blend was 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 26% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot.
I’m happy with my wine. But, if I’d started the blending process a bit earlier, I might have wound up with something even better. I created eight blends and I know some people did twice that many. Live and learn.

This article is original to Copyright 2010 NorCal Wine. All rights reserved.

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#1 Liz 2009-11-11 07:38
But why the raincoat, gloves, and goggles? You look a little like something out of Ghostbusters :-)

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