Last August 2012, while in Portland, we were invited to a blending party at R. Stuart & Company in McMinnville. This was not our first blending session. Previously we blended a wine during a class at a Virginia winery and we have hosted a blending party at our house for a California Cab and Virginia Tannat blend that we were making. At R. Stuart the process was more involved. Our task was to make a Pinot Noir blend from six Pinot Noirs made from six different vineyards. Each Pinot was currently in a barrel.
To start off, we had a barrel tasting of each Pinot. During this tasting we took notes and started forming our group. We wanted a group that had similar tastes for Pinot. Kathy and I joined Bill and Rene Eyer and William Pollard Jr. We had spent two weeks with Bill in Italy for the 2012 International Wine Tourism Conference. We quickly determined positions for our group and set in at the task at hand.
Trying to get five people to agree on a blend is a challenge for most winemakers. However our group melded quite well. We stated the wines we liked and those that we didn’t care for. We were able to eliminate two of the Pinots from two vineyards. So now we to work with Pinots from four vineyards. We all liked the Weber Vineyard the best so we decide the largest percentage of the blend would be from that vineyard. We created a blend, than played with changing a percentage here and there.
We learned that just changing one vineyard’s Pinot by a couple percentage points changed the entire wine. We quickly determined the general blend, then spent quite awhile honing in to the perfect blend for us (60% Weber Vineyard, 30% Daffodil Hill Vineyard, 5% Courting Hill Vineyard and 5% Hirschy Vineyard).
Our next task was to create a name for the blend. We choose Reverence. We thought the name evoked a certain elegance for the wine that mirrored the blend. Our last task was to write tasting notes. I mentioned that at conferences, I like to write Haikus. So our group went with that idea. Our tasting notes were:
Darker color, aroma
Tannins dance with food.
Fast forward eight months. R Stuart & Company bottled our blend and sent us two bottles. We plan to open one of the bottles on April 23rd and use Twitter for our tasting. Follow the hashtag #bloggersblend to see what everyone had to say about their blends. There are many events and activities that wineries can do for wine enthusiasts including bloggers. R. Stuart & Company had an educational and fun activity that we will remember for a lifetime.