I just spent a week checking out the Wines of Chile in areas that are not far from Santiago. Part of the experience—which you can book yourself with a group or on the right wine tour—was a wine blending session at the Undurraga vineyard in Talagante, in the Maipo Valley.
After touring the facilities and learning a bit about Undurraga’s wines, its history, and social projects, we got down to business. First one of the winemakers presented one of their finished blends for us to taste. Then we set about tasting four varietals to figure out what we wanted in our own personal blend: Merlot, Cabernet Savignon, Syrah, and Chile’s own Carmenère. Sniffing, swirling, and taking notes, we each settled on a different combination.
We could test different combinations by using a sort of large plastic test tube that the winemakers use in their lab. If one is a little off, you can adjust the mix and try again.
Once you’re happy with the results, you then mix them for real in the proper proportions in a larger vessel and transfer the blend through a funnel into the bottle. For this exercise they had an old fashioned cork plugger on hand (after the more modern practice of putting in some elemental powder that would eliminate the oxygen in the top of the bottle).
I labeled mine “Sarah and Carmen Catch a Cab.” It’s 25% Syrah, 25% Carmenère, and 50% Cabernet. It’s a structured wine that should hold up to hearty food, but the blending grapes smooth out the tannins of the Cabernet.
I brought the bottle home and it’ll soon make it into some glasses. Will it impress my dinner guests? Time will tell.
See more here on visiting Viña Undurraga.