Smart wine makers have long recognised the benefits of blending grapes from a variety of origins to create a unique wine. What one variety may lack in colour, tannins, acidity, or taste, another, or even a third or fourth, might make up for in other ways.
If you put them together correctly, you will have a synergy, a wine that communicates a feeling of wholeness that goes beyond what the individual components would imply.
Bygone farmers, including those who established some of the state’s oldest vineyards, went one step further: they did not just mix various grape types when producing wine; instead, they blended vineyards, choosing the varieties they desired in the wine and interplanting them together.
It was made from a mix of five Rhône grapes: grenache blanc (forty percent), viognier (twenty percent), roussanne (19 percent), marsanne (15 percent), and clairette blanche (fortieth percent) (5 percent). This mix may vary from year to year, depending on the characteristics of the vintage under consideration. In contrast to the stale ’17, which was dominated by the tropical fruit of the viognier, the ’20 was a seamless totality of flavours.
Similarly to the Patelin, the Boxler is designed for casual drinking; nevertheless, the ’18 was at the peak of its powers. Edelzwicker is a word used in Alsace to describe a mix that historically consisted only of the region’s weaker white grape varieties. Because the market is now uncontrolled, anything goes. The mix for the Tablas Creek varies from year to year, much like the Tablas Creek.
However, I was able to pick out the distinct characteristics of each grape variety in the 2018 — floral muscat, mineral riesling, and the silky texture of pinot blanc and auxerrois — despite the blend’s overall harmony. It was straightforward and straightforward, with a nice balance and maybe a hint of residual sweetness that appeared as the wine warmed in the glass. I thought it was excellent, and it would make a wonderful wine for a casual lunch with friends.
It’s possible that comparing the first two wines to the Bouscaut was a little unfair. It’s a distinct kind of wine, more serious than casual, and designed to improve with age. A nearly equal mix of two grapes, with a little preference for sauvignon blanc over sémillon, this wine has a refreshing citrus flavour.
While the other two blends may be made up of leftovers from the producers’ more ambitious cuvées, this is Bouscaut’s premier white wine and represents the highest quality of the estate’s wines. It is fermented and matured in oak barrels, 40 percent of which are new, which imparts an oaky flavour to the wine while also complementing the spicy, flowery, and beeswax notes found in the finished product. Like the Tablas Creek, this was a smooth mix, but I usually feel like I can detect the rich, waxy texture of sémillon in the background. It is just in the beginning of its evolution.