Through 3 Whites, the Art of Blending Wines

Rather than dwell on the ’17, I’d rather talk about the 2020, which was exactly as it was intended to be, energetic and direct, with lively acidity, fresh fruit flavors and a creamy texture, not complex but delicious and refreshing.

It was a blend of five Rhône grapes: grenache blanc (40 percent), viognier (21 percent), roussanne (19 percent), marsanne (15 percent) and clairette blanche (5 percent). This blend may change from year to year, depending on the character of the vintage. Unlike the tired ’17, which tasted mostly of the viognier’s tropical fruit, the ’20 was a seamless whole.

Like the Patelin, the Boxler is also intended for casual drinking, but the ’18 was in its prime. Edelzwicker is an Alsatian term for a blend that traditionally included only the region’s lesser white grapes. Nowadays, as it is unregulated, anything goes. As with the Tablas Creek, the blend changes depending on the vintage.

Though the grapes blended well in the ’18, I could sense the individual qualities — the flowery muscat, the mineral riesling, the textured richness of the pinot blanc and auxerrois. It was simple and easy, well balanced with maybe a touch of residual sugar that emerged as the wine warmed in the glass. I thought it was terrific, a lovely wine for an offhand lunch with friends.

It was maybe unfair to compare the first two wines to the Bouscaut. It’s a different sort of wine, serious rather than casual, and built to evolve with age. It’s a roughly equal blend of two grapes, with just a little more sauvignon blanc than sémillon.

Unlike the other two blends, which are perhaps composed of what’s left after the producers put together their more ambitious cuvées, this is Bouscaut’s top white. It’s fermented and aged in oak barrels, 40 percent new, which leaves an oaky imprint that nonetheless integrates well with the spicy, floral, beeswax qualities of the wine. As with the Tablas Creek, this was a seamless blend, although I always feel I can sense the rich, waxy texture of sémillon. It’s just beginning its evolution.

In my introductory column, I mentioned that red blends were more illustrious and mentioned far more often in general wine conversations than white blends. Readers were ready to cite numerous examples of white blends that I hadn’t considered.

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