Everything Is A Blend

At The Wine Rack

with Christopher Reckord

Thursday, April 19, 2018

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Most wine lovers don't realise that practically all wines are very carefully crafted blends. Some wines, like those from Bordeaux, are a blend of different grape varietals from a certain grape-growing region. More common, however, is the blending process that takes place to make a wine such as Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc, which is known for its unique taste — a very special balance of herb, citrus and tropical fruit flavours.

A few lucky Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc wine lovers had the opportunity to get a deeper understanding of how their favourite white wine was made. Importer/distributor Select Brands hosted a tasting experience utilising a specially designed Kim Crawford wine blending kit complete with six different sub-region wine samples and pipette for blending. Our guide was Stansfeld Scott's Caribbean Area Manager Andres Lugo, regional representative for Kim Crawford wines.

Kim Crawford's vineyards are in the Marlborough region of New Zealand and each sub-region produces grapes, in turn producing wines of different styles. This is because each vineyard is divided into blocks based on a range of factors including soil, topography and microclimate. From each vintage just over 100 samples are carefully selected from over 200 to make the final wine.

Lugo spent some time describing the environment for each of the regions where the grapes were made prior to us tasting the samples from each of the chosen plots to see if we could clearly identify the differences. The six samples were: Lower Wairau, powerful, distinctive wine with guava and elderberry flavours; Awatere Valley wine, which featured citrus, fresh herb flavours; Blind Valley with grapefruit, gooseberry and fresh herb; Rapaura, with red bell pepper, passion fruit; Southern Valleys, a textural wine with gooseberry and white current flavours; and Rarangi, with tropical fruits, melon and peach.

Having tasted all the wines, the next activity was to use the pipette and extract a sample of wines from each glass to create a blend as close as possible to the Kim Crawford. This proved to be great fun with just six samples; imagine what it would be to select the final 120 plots from the 200 different sites!

Kim Crawford is one of the best examples of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc on the market. This is a fantastic feat for a venture that began in 1996 by Kim and his wife Erica Crawford in their guest bedroom. Fast forward to 20 years later and becoming the number one premium-selling Sauvignon Blanc in the USA.

This blending session provided a chance for wine lovers to experience just a wee bit of what a winemaker does as he/she crafts the final blend in order to undo ordinary, as Kim Crawford intends to do. As a special bonus, we tasted the new Kim Crawford Spitfire, which is a blend of the best two blocks out of the 240.

Christopher Reckord - Information Technology Entrepreneur & Wine Enthusiast. Send your questions and comments to You can also follow me on Facebook, Instagram @chrisreckord and on Twitter: @Reckord

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