Single varietal wines are probably the ones most American consumers have historically identified with and looked for. There now seems to be a growing segment in the US that realizes the power of blended wines. As we mature as a wine consuming culture in the US there are more and more folks that are comfortable straying outside of their safe zone and experimenting. Blended wines, whether classic Bordeaux style blends or otherwise can offer many positives. Of course at their best the goal is to achieve the best possible wine using the highest quality fruit a producer has available. In addition to that sometimes its as simple as some Merlot being blended in to a Cabernet for additional complexity. In any case while the single varietal expressions have their place too, blended wines are their own unique discipline. Today I'll look at one from Bodega Septima. The Bodega Septima 2007 Gran Reserva was produced using fruit sourced in several distinct parts of Mendoza. This wine is a blend of Malbec (50%), Cabernet Sauvignon (40%), and Tannat (10%). Each varietal was barrel aged separately in a combination of French and American oak. After 12 months in barrel the final blend was assembled prior to this offering being bottled. The suggested retail price for this wine is $25.
When this 2007 blend is poured, the deep purple hue is striking. Blackberry, blueberry and vanilla aromas waft enticingly from the nose of this wine. The palate is loaded with intense layers of fruit flavor. These are joined by spice and chocolate notes that coat the tongue and back of the throat with flavor and good intensity. Espresso, earth and mineral reference points make up the lengthy finish. This wine has firm tannins and good acid structure. In it's powerful youth this wine will work best paired with hearty, full flavored dishes that can match its intensity.
What I like best about this wine is the balance on display between the Malbec and the Cabernet Sauvignon. The lusty fruit of the Malbec shines through, along with the depth of flavor and structure that the Cabernet provides. The softer and lighter bodied Tannat acts as a bridge, bringing it all together. While this wine is delicious now, particularly after a solid decanting, it will undoubtedly improve for the next 5-6 years and drink well for several after that. A nice wine and a very good value.