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Tasting: The art of choosing the blending

Tasting: The art of choosing the blending

To understand better how the tasting process works, we will analyze the meaning of the word and its etymological origin. The word “tasting” comes from the Latin, captare (to grasp, to seek). The meaning of this verb today is to experient a wine with all the senses

When a wine is made, the tasting process is decisive for the winery. Winemakers must try to imagine what the wine will become in twenty years. And it is not easy to see how the young wine will evolve in the bottle.

On the other hand, coupage is a term that is used all over the world, but which has French origins. It is used to refer to the technique used by winemakers when blending different grape varieties or diverse types of wine as part of the winemaking process.

The objective of blending is to find a balance from the mixture of the different varieties and wines, in order to add the attributes they have.

Who is in charge of the tasting?

Throughout the winemaking process, Montse Escoté together with Mireia Torres, winemaker and director respectively, are in charge of analysing and tasting the wine with the cellar’s team. Their experience, work and daily decisions are fundamental to achieve excellence in the final result. 

Preparing for the tasting

The moment of the tasting could be compared to the preparation that a painter does before creating a work of art. The artist has to choose the colors with which he will mix and compose the painting. The same happens when it comes to wine tasting, the objective is to have a palette of wines with which to make the final blend. 

There are some fractions that have more fruit, others that have more spiciness notes that come from the barrel. Some have more structure, and others are lighter. Sometimes, one plus one does not make two in wines. It is really in the tasting where you can see what the final effect is, because analytically there may not be significant differences, but with the tasting, one wine can be completely different from another.

How is blending carried out?  

To carry out the blending of the wines, groups of barrels are selected, from which a sample is extracted. And group by group, the barrels are tasted, depending on the varieties and the vineyards from which the grapes come.  

Once all the wine fractions have been tasted, possible coupages are prepared on a test tube scale.  Samples are made until the proportion that gives the wine the desired characteristics is found.

For long aging wines such as Vinya Le Havre Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva, or Vinya La Scala Cabernet Sauvignon Gran Reserva, when you make the blending you must try to imagine what the wine will be become in twenty years. And it is not easy, because you have to take into account how it will evolve in the bottle. And this is the complexity of these long ageing wines.

How often are the tastings organized? 

On one hand, once a year, a tasting is carried out to determine the coupage of the wines, before bottling. 

Then, periodic tastings of the wines resting in the tanks and barrels are done to monitor their evolution. Since it begins fermentation right until before bottling. The aim is to check the evolution of the wine and to ensure that it does not acquire any defects, so the winemaking processes are adjusted based on its profile.

Tasting: The art of choosing the blending

How can wine age well over time? 

During the periodic tastings and the final blending, one of the most important tasks of the winemakers is to identify if this wine will age well over time. During blending, it is necessary to imagine what the wine will be like in the long term. This is not a simple task, since it is necessary to identify what characteristics a young wine should have to achieve a good evolution in the bottle, mainly good concentration and acidity.  This is the complexity of long-aged wines.