Weekly wine defined: varietal character

Brynn writes:

This is a term I heard a lot this weekend at Taste Washington: Varietal character.

We attended one of the weekend’s seminars on Sunday about blending wine and part of that discussion had to do with the grape varieties often used for blending and how to keep their distinct character, or flavors, in tact.

When winemakers produce a wine the general idea is if they’re making a chardonnay or a cabernet sauvignon, they want that wine to taste like a chardonnay or cabernet sauvignon. Makes sense right?

So the winemaking techniques they use are going to keep the grape variety and its many characters — flavors, aromas, tannins, weight, etc. — in check. As consumers if we see a grape variety on the label of a wine, we have a general expectation of what that wine is going to taste like. As we start to get more educated about specific winemakers and their styles, we’ll start to know what to expect from them.

This weekend there was one winery in particular that we tasted that I felt nailed the varietal characters of the wines they were pouring and that was Maison Bleue. But we’ll get to that in a later review of the event.