The Art of Blending Wine

National Treasure Napa Valley



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Dino Roussia is a certified sommelier for the Court of Masters in London and certified spirits advisor. He may be reached at 407-719-9162.

Napa Valley is the center of the wine universe and heaven for red wine, particularly Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine-growing region is a national treasure, producing wine with an extraordinary richness of texture and wide range of flavor.

During the last two decades, many Napa Valley vintners have adopted a new style of blending wine that follows the Bordeaux model in France. They blend the traditional grape varietals of the wines of Bordeaux (Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Malbec) to create something greater than the sum of each wine’s parts.

Cain Five by Cain winery, Insignia by Joseph Phelps, Trilogy by Flora Springs and Profile by Merryvale are just a handful of wines consistently regarded as among the finest examples by critics and wine lovers alike.

Unlike formula wines, these wines are created differently each year depending on the quality and the characteristics of each varietal in that particular vintage. Although the varietal profile may change, what doesn't change is the ability to pick the finest fruit from the best vineyard sites and to blend those fruits into the highest quality wine. Very Californian in style and character, these wines are big, bold and powerful, yet soft and graceful, reflecting the combination of fruit, restraint and depth of complexity.

A group of Napa Valley vintners actually launched a contest to create a new designation for propriety this proprietary red wine that ranks among the wineries’ best offerings. The winner, “Meritage,” (it rhymes with heritage), conveys the superior quality of the winemakers’ blend. Today, the best and most sought-after wine in Napa Valley is the "Meritage" because of its soft tannins and the multiple layers of complexity each varietal contributes to the mix. One sip and you will develop a crush on these blended wines.

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