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Bordeaux Blend

The Bordeaux wine region is intimately connected with Cabernet Sauvignon, even though wine is rarely made without the blended component of other grape varieties. It is the likely "birthplace" of the vine, and producers across the globe have invested heavily in trying to reproduce the structure and complexity of Bordeaux wines.

While the "Bordeaux blend" of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet franc and Merlot created the earliest examples of acclaimed Cabernet Sauvignon wine, Cabernet Sauvignon was first blended in Bordeaux with Syrah, a pairing that is widely seen in Australia and some vin de pays wines from the Languedoc.

The decision to first start blending Cabernet Sauvignon was partly derived from financial necessity. The sometime temperamental and unpredictable climate of Bordeaux during the "Little Ice Age" did not guarantee a successful harvest every year; producers had to insure themselves against the risk of losing an entire vintage by planting a variety of grapes. Over time it was discovered that the unique characteristics of each grape variety can complement each other and enhance the overall quality of wine.

As a base, or backbone of the wine, Cabernet Sauvignon added structure, acidity, tannins and aging potential. By itself, particularly when harvested at less than ideal ripeness, its can lack a sense of fruit or "fleshiness" on the palate which can be compensated from by adding the rounder flavors of Merlot. Cabernet franc can add additional aromas to the bouquet as well as more fruitiness. In the lighter soils of the Margaux region, Cabernet-based wines can lack color, which can be achieved by blending in Petit Verdot. Malbec can add additional fruit and floral aromas.

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