Blend, taste, tweak, repeat …
Blending is one of the most eagerly anticipated stages in the winemaking calendar as it is the moment where our wines come to life and we get to discover the true character of the vintage. This month we have been busy building the blends from the 2020 vintage – a pretty perfect growing season overall and arguably, one of our finest to date.
So, what is the secret to creating a great blend? At Roebuck Estates we have one goal in mind – to capture the essence of each grape variety, vineyard and vintage in every bottle. To achieve this we ferment our handpicked fruit in small batches according to grape variety and vineyard block using a combination of stainless steel tanks and Burgundian oak barrels which gives us a multitude of components to play with when crafting our final wines.
Creating the best blends requires a great deal of concentration and precision and so we taste early in the morning when our minds and palates are at their sharpest. We begin by meticulously tasting and carefully assessing each individual base wine to build a picture of the inherent qualities of the individual components. Each variety plays an important role in the blend. Pinot Noir adds structure and texture, Chardonnay brings elegance, acidity and aromatics and Pinot Meunier fills in the gaps with its floral and perfumed notes. But it takes time to get this right, so we blend, taste, tweak, again and again over several days until we are completely happy that we have arrived at a collection of brilliant wines that showcase the very best the vintage has to offer.
The final blends are then bottled and undergo a second fermentation followed by a generous period of lees-ageing for a minimum of three years which gives our wines the richness, depth of flavour and complexity that we are seeking. It will be several years before our 2020 vintage sparkling wines are ready for release but tasting the final blends has left us hugely excited about how superb these wines promise to be.