A certain liveliness on the tonguePublished on 02 Feb 2021
The art of blending wine
From a “bomb of red fruit” to “a Marmitey character on the nose,” blending the perfect wine is no mean feat. Indeed, what you are really looking for, according to winemaker, Hannes Meyer, is to create something show stopping. “You need it to wow your drinkers. Wine must dance on your tongue like a ballerina.” No pressure, then, for Hannes’ students at a virtual wine tasting hosted by Stonehage Fleming in December.
Each guest was sent six 200ml barrel samples of the wine before Hannes took them through an evening of tasting and creating. He taught his new students to make their own blend, even challenging them to come up with something better than his own.
Hannes is winemaker at Lomond, a winery situated on the Agulhas Plain near the southernmost tip of Africa at Cape Agulhas. Its cultivars, selected to match both the farm’s terroir and climate, consist of Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Shiraz, Sémillon, Nouvelle, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Mourvedre and Viognier.
Having graduated with a BSc Agri degree specialising in Viticulture and Oenology from the University of Stellenbosch Hannes has been making wine for many years. “I have worked on 21 vintages. Each one is unique. In every blend, you are aiming to showcase that particular vintage, not simulate a previous one. By focussing on the current vintage and making it the best possible wine it can be, you ensure it has its own sense of place – its own identity,” he said.
Blending the perfect wine takes time, explained Hannes: “I have been working on one blend for six weeks. I often sit for hours playing around with various percentages and different components.”
A process, he warns, you mustn’t let drag on indefinitely – however much you are enjoying yourself. “Blending is an art – it can’t be rushed, but you must eventually draw a line”, he said. “At some point you have to stop. Next year you can go on and perfect your product. That’s the nice thing about wine: you can keep on improving – the sky’s the limit.”