My early adventures in mixing my two favourite beverages, milk and apple juice didn’t go too well. Time has been a patient teacher though, and I’m getting better. Without the prying and suspicious eyes of other wine professionals, I’ve been practicing in the kitchen. Mixing wines.
Selosse Champagne too expensive for a Monday night? try 1 part Fino sherry to 2 parts NV Champagne. Want to keep hold of your 1996 Leflaive’s* for a special occasion, try a decent young Maconnais with a quarter of old Jura Chardonnay. Sacriligious maybe. Idiotic possibly, but an interesting experiment when you have many wines open of various things.
I think it’s easier to blend white wines then red, particularly as a way of marrying aged complexity with vitality.
I haven’t limited the experience to cheap wines either, I remember blending some different vintages of Vega Sicilia and finding the sum of the parts greater than any of the components.
It seems it’s a passion shared by fellow wine lover and lost soul Rudi Kuneriwan. Wanted and found by the FBI for one of the largest wine counterfeiting operations of modern times. Me, I think he just liked to blend old wines. He just took it too far. Quite a bit too far. I have a certain sympathy with the view of the Gray Report who says:
“Who would you rather spend an evening with: the forger Rudy Kurniawan, or the people who bought fake wine from him? Kurniawan, an Indonesian national with a great palate, would be so much more interesting. I can’t think of a worse way to spend three hours than beside some guy who calls himself “the Punisher” because he has more prestigious bottles in his cellar than I do.”.
Although anyone who calls himself the ‘punisher’ may well be a good laugh and Rudy does come across as a one-dimensional wine-nerd whose idea of chat consists of responding to whatever wine you describe with a superior one that he just drunk.
Some of his recipes went along the following lines: 1945 Mouton – 50% 1988 Cos d’Estournel, good elegant but quite understated wine – so, soup it up: 25% Chateau Palmer, 25% Californian Cabernet. Sounds quite nice. Could it pass as 1945 Mouton? I doubt it. Additionally – I would also rather drink unadulterated versions of the first 2 wines, than that melange. There is something to be said for the original after all. Part of the attraction of mixing two wines is that you can try them separately first –
If not, in a strange sort of way, philosophically, you’re not actually mixing wines anyway.
* Better bring a back-up.