Bordeaux Blending Masterclass

Bordeaux Blending Masterclass

Dave, John, Dorothy and I went to a Bordeaux Blending Masterclass at Proof Wine Bar in Somerset West. We were given 5 wines and out of them we had to make our own blend which was judged. The judges were winemakers Clive Torr and Jean du Plessis and Nick, the owner.

Proof Wine Bar
Proof Wine Bar
The wines

We were given 5 wines and knew the estates of two of them. We were provided the sugar and alcohol content but the tasting notes were up to us to discover.

Cabernet Sauvignon

  • pale in colour
  • cassis and red fruits on the nose
  • red cherry and good structure on the palate
  • prominent tannins
  • sugar 3.5
  • alcohol 14.55
  • total score 14/20

Merlot – wine provided by Lourensford

  • good colour
  • petroleum, mint, berries, faint smoke and musty on the nose
  • sweet fruit, black berries and full body on the palate with a sweet finish
  • good tannin base
  • sugar 4.2
  • alcohol 14.1
  • total score 14.5/20

Cabernet Franc – wine provided by Avontuur

  • dark colour
  • licourice, powerful wood and dark chocolate on the nose
  • green grass, mint, chocolate and longer aftertaste on the palate
  • bitter tannins
  • sugar 2.4
  • alcohol 14.6
  • total score 17/20

Petit Verdot

  • good dark colour
  • sultanas, Christmas pudding and light port on the nose
  • fruity on the palate but falls away very quickly
  • high acid and dry tannins
  • sugar 2.1
  • alcohol 13.8
  • total score 13/20


  • ruby rim and nice colour
  • strawberries and wood on the nose after starting off very shy
  • red berries but very thin and fell apart on the palate
  • dry tannins
  • sugar 3.2
  • alcohol 13.9
  • total score 13.5/20


The Wines For The Bordeaux Blending Masterclass
The Wines For The Bordeaux Blending Masterclass

Bordeaux could be considered the home of blending.  A typical blend will consist of either the Cabernet Sauvignon or the Merlot being predominant with 40 – 75% of the wine having one of the varietals. Depending on the base you would typically add 15 – 20% Petit Verdot, 15 – 20% Cabernet Franc and 5 – 10% Malbec. All our wines were 2015 harvest and we had to provide a 100ml sample to the judges of our blend. We went against the grain, preferring to use the Cabernet Franc as our base as it scored the best. We went for a smooth finish by blending 50% Cabernet Franc with 20% of each of the Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot and 5% each of the Malbec and Petit Verdot.

John Corking Our Wine
John Corking Our Wine
The judging

Having gone against the grain we scored our wine 17/20. The judges based their score on the same criteria, a maximum of 3 for the colour, 7 for the nose and 10 for the palate. The highest score was 17 and the lowest was 15.6. We came second by with a score of 16.7 and I am sure this was due to the fact our blend was not pure Bordeaux style. The winning blend used 55% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc and 5% each of the Malbec and Petit Verdot.

Our Blend Bordeaux Blending Masterclass
Our Blend
To take home

We each received a numbered bottle to take home with us of our own personal blend. John and I placed the corks into our bottles, and we will be sure to remove them together next time we have a meal.

Inspiration published on Lavender and Lime August 23:


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18 thoughts on “Bordeaux Blending Masterclass

  1. This seems like an amazing experience, Tandy! I’d love to try and make my own blend! 😉

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