Using Varietals to Improve Wines
It is fun to grow and harvest the different varieties of grapes, but it is also a good way to improve the wine!
For example, year after year we have noticed that our Cabernet Franc profits from blending in about 10–12% Cabernet Sauvignon, which adds to and lengthens the finish, drawing you back for more. We are permitted to add up to 25% of blending elements and still label the wine as Cabernet Franc. This has become so much a routine with us that we now combine these grapes before fermentation so as to achieve the ultimate marriage between the two varietals.
A very important wine, our Lake William, is actually a blend of four varietals. Added to the Cabernet Sauvignon, its principal ingredient, are helpings of Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Petit Verdot. The Cabernet Franc lends its lovely violet color to the combination, while the Merlot definitely softens the mouth feel to make the blend more approachable. The Petit Verdot, added sparingly, gives it a flinty backbone. Each of the four varietals is also a complete wine on its own and we offer them separately for those who like variety in their wine experience.
But for two of our varietals we always offer them without blending: One is the King of Wines, the Cabernet Sauvignon, and the other is the Queen of Wines, the Chardonnay. These proud wines stand on their own.