Spring blending is underway at Lionheart Wines! I have been working on blending the following wines:
2007 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
2007 Roaring Red, California
2008 Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast
2008 white Rhone blend (we can not use ‘The Angel’s Share’ anymore due to a trademark issue…if you have a suggestion for what to call the wine, please let me know)
The blending has gone very well. I really enjoy working on blending the wines as you get to “fine tune” the work started way back at harvest of the grapes. I have a wine style in mind which I try to reach in the final blend but do not artificially impose my will on what the wines are showing as their best qualities. I want to make the best possible wine given the base blending components.
The 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon is looking to be a different style than then 2006; the 2007 has more ripe cherry / plum fruit which the blending will need to tone down. I am going to be doing blend tests with Petite Verdot (to add spicyness and warm baking spices), Cabernet Franc (to add some floral aromas and more velvety tannins) and a bit of Malbec (make the wine more interesting, more layered in aromas and flavors). The exact blend has not been worked out yet; the primary blend should be done by the first week in June. The primary blend will then be put back in barrel to let it integrate before any final adjustments and bottling later this year.
The 2007 Roaring Red has been a bit of challenge this year. I had to do a fining trial to get the tannin profile in line with the target wine. The fining trial was done by taking equal volume samples of the current blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley and Kiona, Washington) and Dry Creek Syrah and adding 1 egg white worth to one sample, 2 egg white worth to another sample, etc and then left in a refrigerate to cold stablize it for a week. The results from the fining trial indicated that about 1.25 egg whites per barrel seemed to get the proper tannin softness and structure for the wine. After the actual fining is completed, the last part of the primary blend will be done. The blending wines to be tested are Eaglepoint Grenache (for spiceyness and addition of light red fruits (currants, strawberry, etc) ), Contra Costa Mourvedre (for aromas and flavor complexity) and Petite Verdot ( for spiceyness and warm baking spices).
The 2008 Pinot Noir primary blending was very easy — equal parts of the Bohemian Vineyard and Gap’s Crown vineyard. The blend was really nice and very similar to the 2007 Pinot Noir. The blend will be topped with some of the Bohemian 777 clone from the second pick to add a bit more concentration to the wine as it integrates. I am very happy with the base wines from these two vineyards!
The 2008 Saralee’s Vineyard, White Rhone Blend (formerly ‘The Angel’s Share’) blending was a several hour and over 15 blends tested for the primary blend to be determined. The blend components all look very good by themselves but when properly combined you get a really lovely wine. The final blend should be very similar to the 2007 White Rhone blend. The 2008 primary blend is going to be 48% Roussanne / 50% Marsanne / 2% Viognier. It was very cool to be able to tell how the wine was going to evolve given this would be the third vintage — remember what the wines were like when initially blended versus the current state of each vintage. I really enjoy working with the white Rhone varietals as the flavors and aromas are very complex and beguiling. The white Rhone wine maybe bottled near the end of June depending on how the primary blend stablizes in tank.