Sunday, June 07, 2009

Blending the 2005's: Tough Work but SOMEONE'S got to do it!

Further explore wine blending.

Start with eight or ten single varietals from a vintage that is getting ready to be drinkable, line 'em up and figure out the blends that may work. A hundred sips later, you may have a few workable blends.

Indeed, for the 2005's, I did manage a couple worth noting.

PM5 (Carneros Sonoma Pinot Noir(P5)/Carneros Napa Merlot 2005 (M'5)): First, the Sonoma Pinot Noir (P5) is still taut - but mixing with 1/2 measure of another bright varietal, the Carneros Napa Merlot (M'5) gives it just a bit of fruit and brightness. So this combo, which I'll code as PM5, is probably a good serving option for the 2005 Pinot Noir for the longer term. Corlor is deep ruby red. Aromatics are subtle, with a touch of red currant fruit. Bright palate, but spreading clean fruit in the middle. Still some tannins for age. Clean finish. I like this better than either of the components, so that makes for a successful blend.

B5 (Bordeaux blend 2005: State Lane Yountville Napa Cabernet Sauvignon (CS5)/Carneros Sonoma Merlot (M5)/Russian River Sonoma Cabernet Franc (F5)): Each of these wines had a similar style - ready to drink, silky, lightly aromatic. Together, they comprise an excellent blend. In the glass, very deep red, hints of brick. Aromas are solid, sweet and yielding, just a little bit leafy. On the palate, a lightly sweet, bold and balanced attack in the front - wonderful tannins, aromatic deep red fruits, outstanding lingering finish. One of the best ever from Chez Ray! Each of the components is an outstanding offering in its own right, but I loved the balance in the blend.

A5 (Aromatic blend 2005: Russian River Sonoma Zinfandel (Z5)/Rutherford Napa Cabernet Sauvignon (CR5)): Both of these wines were stand-outs as aromatically-rich, quite youthful, bright wines. The combo makes a uniquely potent, aromatic blend. Color is very deep red, almost opaque. Nose is rich, sweet and inky - black sweet ink that you want to guzzle from the fountain pen like it's a lick'em'aid stick. On the palate, a sweet, viscous, peppery assault runs across your mouth. The powerful tannins stick to the roof and sides of your mouth, bringing the rich, black nectar slowly down. Takes a minute or more to dislodge from the crevices. Awesomely lingering finish. Not for the faint of heart. Sweet steroids. Can mellow out for years to come.

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