Wine blending decisions for annual bottling

Making blending decisions for annual bottling is exciting and intense. We decide the fate of each vat and barrel. Which are great enough to make the cut for the amazing Grace? Which have the earthiness we want to reflect in the character of Résonance? It is fun but also a big responsibility.

Wine blending: what exactly do we do?

But what exactly do we do for a blending session? Sean organises all the ‘lots’ (vats or barrels of wine) that we judge are ready to bottle into sample bottles that are well labelled. We taste through the individual samples thinking of the wines as they are today but also projecting what they will be in the future. Then we combine the lots that we think work best. This is based on our overall judgement of quality – a difficult enough concept when it comes to wine.

There are wines from sections of the vineyard that automatically go into certain cuvees because of their character and quality. For example the Sincérité pure sauvignon has always been from our 2 older plots of Sauvignon blanc – except in 2013 (very small harvest due to bad weather at flowering) and 2017 (very small harvest due to frost) where we needed to include some of the younger sauvignon to make it a viable volume to bottle. Sometimes we have to take tough decisions about a lot that doesn’t make the cut for the quality we want for Feely wines. That lot then is sold to a reseller or goes to the distillery.

Annual blending at Chateau Feely - red barrel selection

The blends that are judged best for each style of wine in our range are put aside in new sample bottles to be re-tasted the following day then the following week. Sean and I are always in agreement on the perfect blends: it is instant recognition of harmony when we hit the right combination (on other things we are never in agreement I say its white and he says its red).

Wine blending: a big responsibility

It is exciting making these critical decisions for wines that will become characters in their own right that people associate with important moments like anniversaries and birthday parties but also with simple joys of a glass of wine alone one evening, a romantic dinner together or a family gathering, where people will email and say things like ‘Grace – what a lovely drink’ (thank you Barry), ‘Vérité – a beautiful red’ (thank you Ian), ‘Resonance – just superb’ and ‘Sincérité – how wonderful it is’ (thank you Tracey) and that will be experienced for years to come. We aim to create wines that will be similar to the previous years but also individual in their own right.

It is not easy making artisanal organic, biodynamic and natural wine but the fulfillment and the quality that results is worth the effort. Thank you for being part of this journey! Santé!

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Read more about our biodynamic approach and the importance of choosing organic in our why organic series.  Come and learn more about organic farming with a visit to Chateau Feely in South West France ; stay with us or do a multi day course or multi day tour . Read about the story of our organic farm the series includes three books Grape ExpectationsSaving our Skins and Glass Half Full by Caro Feely.

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Showing 2 comments
  • Lyn

    I love the bit about the meeting of your minds, very different minds, when you find the perfect blend!

  • Caro FEELY
    Caro FEELY

    Thanks Lyn!

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