I've said it once and I'll say it again. I love wine - a lot. There's nothing like a nice, heart-warming glass of full bodied Cab Sauv, you feel me?
And with the amount of wine I consume, I should probably figure out where wine comes from, how it's made and how winemakers decide how to make blends (spoiler alert, they taste a lot of wine).
So I went out to Western Washington's wine country and spent an evening with Chateau Ste. Michelle, where I designed my VERY OWN red blend, from stem to stern.
The process begins with a wine taste (yay!), where you try about five or six different red varietals from Malbec, to Merlot, to the deepest and boldest Cabernet Sauvignon. Throughout each taste, you are encouraged to write down what you think of the wine - is it light or tannin forward? Is it smooth? Does it have texture or a bite? It's basically a journal entry, but for wine. You then are given a little math lesson where you learn how to fill up a small beaker with different percentages of your chosen varietals to create the whole blend. You can mix and match as many varietals as you want, so it's essentially Christmas in August, you feel me?
After you've made your perfect blend, you then calculate those percentages to transfer over to a 800mL beaker, AKA the size of a bottle of wine. I will tell you straight up that my math skills are - grim, so I needed lots of help from the professionals hanging around. Bless their hearts.
I'm not going to say that I made the best red blend of all time, but I did, so. The first bottle I built was 25 percent Columbia Valley Malbec, 15 percent Canoe Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon and 60 percent Cold Creek Cabernet Sauvignon. Even though that was the money bottle, I wanted to flip that recipe to see how different it tasted, making the Malbec the 60 percent and so on and so forth.
After trying both of my blends I determined that I had nailed it the first go around and went ahead and bottled my original blend. I called it "Gena's Vino," which is...terribly unoriginal and by no means unique, but I had had quite a lot of wine and couldn't think creatively if I'm being frank.
You can become a winemaker for a day out at Chateau Ste. Michelle with two classes daily, one at 10:30 a.m. and the other at 2:30 p.m. It's $125 per person or $95 for members of the winery but don't let the prices scare you - it's experience and hands-on education you get from wine professionals (in my opinion!) Plus you get a personalized bottle of wine at of it, and that, my friends - is priceless.