Winemakers Corner: The Art of blending wine
To a winemaker the process of blending wines is one of the most intriguing and creative processes in the making a bottle of wine. Much like a piece of art that is made up of various colours, shades, techniques and brush strokes we are looking for layers of aromas and flavours, structure, elegance and complexity in the wines we create.
At Ernie Els blending is the final step before the wine goes to bottle, but the process actually starts soon after harvest when we taste and assess all our new wines and allocate each wine batch according quality and style characteristics.
The final step of blending happens after the wine has matured in barrels for 18-22 months, to assess how the wine has developed during maturation. We go through all our wine batches in the cellar allocating barrels with specific characteristics into specific styles. This also gives us the opportunity to see how the different barrels integrate with our wine, as each barrel adds its own components depending on toasting, size and origin. In addition to the barrels we use there are other factors like the various clones planted on the estate, the soil types and variety of fermentation techniques we use that all add different characteristics and layers to our wines. We will continue tasting the various wine batches and barrels until we find the final combination that creates the ideal blend for a specific wine.
Over the years winemaking has evolved to become a blend of art, science and nature. With each vintage mother nature will give us something new or different, but our commitment to quality and passion to find and create the perfect blend will never change.