The Art of the Blend

I’m always on the lookout for different wine events.

I’ll be honest. I’m getting a little bored with typical winetastings. You know what I mean. I’ve done the swirl, sniff, slurp thing many times. I’ve listened to many people overanalyze what’s in their glass, coming up with crazy wine descriptions that make no sense to me. No, I don’t smell a combination of melon, falling leaves, paprika and puppy dog in my wine. I never will. And even if I could, I wouldn’t want to drink melon, falling leaves, paprika and puppy dog.

Sorry for the sarcasm – it’s just past scars from wine snobs I have known.

So for me, a great wine event is approachable, with no evidence of wine snobbery. It also makes me very happy when they don’t cost a bajillion dollars to attend. I love wine, but I do have a budget. I also have a partner who doesn’t drink, so it makes little sense to drop a ton of money for an event that he can’t fully partake in.

But last week I hit the jackpot – A food and wine event with a twist, that was also easy on the budget.

What caught my attention was that this event was all about how to blend wine, and each participant was going to get to try their hand at making a Bordeaux style blend. Doesn’t that sound fun? No passive sipping, slurping, and overanalyzing here. What also got my interest is that food was to be provided by The Yellow Pear. And the icing on the cake? Cost was $20 per person.

Hinterbrook Estate Winery was the brilliant organizer of this event. Apparently more things like this are in the works. If they are all as much fun as this one was, trust me, you’ve gotta go.

When I arrived, I was welcomed with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc, and some charcuterie provided by The Yellow Pear. A great start if you ask me.

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We chatted with some of the other participants as we nibbled and sipped. We also looked around the winery, and I read some of the graffitti on the wall. (Yes, graffitti. Some interesting changes going on at Hinterbrook)

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One of the other changes is their new NOMAD label

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The room was set up for us, with bottles of Cab Franc, Cab Sauv and Merlot on the table. We eagerly took our places, not really knowing what to expect.

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After a quick chat about what the winemakers to do to create a blend, we were encouraged to just jump right in and start creating! We didn’t need to be told twice, we were ready to give it a try.

With a handy dandy little beaker to create the mixtures with, I had a brief flashback to high school science classes. But I don’t remember them being nearly this much fun.

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I thought I would be quite a pro at this. Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon are two of my favourites. Cabernet Franc is a bit finnicky for me – sometimes I love it, sometimes not. So I thought lots of Merlot and Cab Sauv would do the trick. Easy peasy right?

Well, not really. My blends were missing something – it turned out to be Cab Franc. I included some Cab Franc in each of my attempts, but I was surprised to discover that I actually preferred more Cab Franc to Cab Sauv.  I must confess, I discovered this due to Ken. Yes, my sweetie, who doesn’t drink, created some great blends for me. Way better than my own.

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There was a pleasant buzz of chatter as we all compared notes.

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It was hard, messy work. But someone’s got to do it.

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So sustenance was required. Thankfully, The Yellow Pear provided.

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Polenta, shrimp, fresh veggies, all in a delicious sauce. The perfect thing to restore us after our winemaking efforts.

I should also tell you that The Yellow Pear now has a permanent location at Hinterbrook – The YP Bistro. So whenever you need a Yellow Pear fix, you know where to get it. And you can grab a great bottle of wine too. Perfect, isn’t it?

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The end result?

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Blend #5 was my favourite. But I also really liked #6 and #2 was nice too, thanks to the diligent efforts of my sweetie pie. In case you are wondering, the measurements are in millilitres. These were poured into the handy beaker, and all blended together in the wine glass.

Now, the brilliant thing is that you could order a case or two of your own special blend. What a great idea for the holidays, for gifts, or just because you created it yourself.

A really fun, interactive, tasty way to learn about blending wine. Say good-bye to those boring wine snob lecture type things.

And hope that Hinterbrook does more of these events. Soon.