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The Cellar: Field Blends

Friday, November 23, 2012

 

When a wine is made of two or more grape varieties sourced from the same vineyard, it's called a field blend.

As everyone enjoys emerging from Thanksgiving, here's a fun wine lesson on a lesser-known style of wine called a 'field blend.'

2010 Binner Les Saveurs, Alsace, France

Alsatian producer Domaine Binner’s bottling named Les Saveurs is an interesting blend of Riesling, Sylvaner, Auxerrois, Gewurztraminer and Pinot Gris. This wine is what’s called a ‘field blend’. A field blend is a wine made of two or more grape varieties sourced from the same vineyard, or at least, the same producer. Field blends date back to the time after World War II when winemaking equipment, especially large

fermentation tanks, were hard to come by forcing the winemaker to vinify all the grapes, regardless of varietal, in the same tank. Back then most wines were made by small family operations. These people weren’t trained scientists, they were farmers - many of them were unaware of what grape varieties were growing in their vineyard, they were simply tending to the same vines their parents had been tending to. Today, modern technology such as DNA gene mapping has enabled growers to identify and separate their varietals. In addition, more money for production allows for winemakers to vinify their lots separately.

The folks at Domaine Binner, an estate that dates back to 1770, hand harvests their 15 acres very late for Alsace, early to mid-October. As a result, the fruit is fully ripened giving their wines a complexity of aromatics and depth flavors. While the exact makeup of their 2010 Les Saveurs in terms percentages of each varietal is not known, the Riesling and Gewurztraminer makes for an extremely aromatic wine. The Auxerrois and Pinot Gris on the other hand, along with the fact that this wine is unfiltered, gives it significant weight on the palate. The aromatics are all over the place ranging from floral to perfumey. On the palate the wines displays an array of tropical, green and citrus fruits. Great $17 wine!

Steffen Rasch CSW is ready to answer any wine-related questions, comments or concerns you may have. Feel free to email him at srasch@golocalprov.com. And as always, don’t forget to follow GoLocalProv’s Wine Cellar on Facebook and sign up for one of his tastings through the Providence Wine Academy.

 

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