Skip to content

A Dollop of This, A Dollop of That, Looking for a Good Blended Wine

We’ve all tasted a blended California bottle of wine and may not know it. Often a winemaker will add a Syrah to a Cabernet. Keep it below 25% Syrah and you still have the Cabernet Sauvignon on the label. Wine makers are not required to disclose the additive wine as long as there is 75% of the original grape. Whether it be a straight varietal or something like a GSM (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre) you’ve tasted blended wine.

So how exactly will a winemaker choose a specific blend? Well, it’s all about experimentation and pouring a dollop of this wine into a glass of another wine. Sip and taste and try another combo.

That’s exactly what we did at Cass Winery’s Blending Party with bottles of Grenache, Syrah, Cabernet and Merlot. Ten teams of eight splashed their way to blending and mixing wines. Try a little of this, and little of that in a Cabernet. Then pour a little Mourvedre in the Syrah and then throw a dollop of Grenache into it. Stop, repeat, taste.

Once our group settled on a Cabernet and Grenache blend we needed to develop a ratio, more Cabernet than Grenache? Or how about just 20% of Grenache? We finally settled on a 60% Cabernet with 40% Grenache.

Tasting notes written on the table top covered with paper.

But it’s not over.

Now it was time to judge all 10 wines and decide which people liked. So queue up, sip, think and vote for your favorite blend.

Unfortunately our team came in last place with only one vote (meaning at least seven members of our team didn’t choose their own wine blend.) The winner was a blend of Cabernet, Merlot and Syrah (or CMS which they interpreted as Can’t ‘Member Shit) garnering 17 of 80 votes.

For the winners and losers, there was a lot of wine to enjoy while Cass Winery soaked up marketing and taste research for their future editions while having a lot of fun.

Team ‘On The Money’

Some notes on our wine ranking system.

Bill & Erin Hodge write about California Wine, the estates & winemakers producing them and educational information about Vino. Living in California Wine Country provides a front row seat to the places you want to visit the most here in the Golden State.

– -✰  means -What’s next on your list of wines
-✰  means -Not liking it too much
✰ means  -We’ll drink this wine, especially if it’s hosted!
✰+ means -You’ve got our attention and we might buy this wine.
✰+ + means -We’re hooked and we’re going to buy this wine.
When you see -✰/✰+  with a slash, it means we disagree.