Sacrilegious tampering with fine wine or (crudely) reconstructing the great rosés of the world

I’m a big fan of Tondonia rosado, even if my love for the blanco is even greater. I also love Clos Cibonne which is the greatest Pronençal rosé I’ve ever had. I know they also age under fleurette (flor) in some of their cuvées. But I’m no NYC lawyer. Not even a country one, so sometimesI need to take the back road. Being a mad scientist I set about making a crude approximation to my favourite pink wines of the world by adding ingredient X. An unknown wine from the the Deep South. Of Spain. You know the one. Manzanilla. It works a treat. It turns decent, if slightly inelegant, French salmon-colored wine into a much more elegant and complex beast managing to hide the alcohol in the process.

Do you think it’s a crime to mess with wine? Even if you can make a 20 bux wine taste like something much more interesting. Moreover, something you enjoy more?

It’s not something I’ll do all the time, but if I have fino in the fridge (as you always should!) I might add a drop occasionally to my pink wines when the mood takes me in that direction.

Update: Since first writing this I’ve tried it with sparkling wine r hood effect. Too much and it bexomes sparkling Manzanilla which may or may not float your boat but that’s not the outcome I’m seeking. Like is often the case when seasoning food, adding just a tiny drop (1-5%) adds a je ne sais quoi whilst not sticking out, so to speak.


I guess messing with wine is a big no no for most WBs.


Blending can be fun. 2 centuries ago they used to mix bordeaux with hermitage. The only way to recreate that is to do it yourself.


Actually I was wrong, La Lagune produced some a few years ago.

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Yep… I forgot what the chardonnay/white Burgundy was but the pinot was Mugnier Chambolle. Yes, it was damn good. No, I likely wouldn’t repeat it in the future :sweat_smile:

Nor, would I ask a bartender for a Handy Sazerac Sazerac or a Weller 18 Manhattan ever again

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Chateau Palmer Historical XIXth Century. I’ve tried it just after release, but wasn’t impressed. It probably needed time to come together.


I’d say that most wine is a blend in a way. The best (barrels, etc) being kept and blended together, for example. Others going into lesser wines or sold as bulk.

But, as always, we are kind of off topic.

Would you make additions to wine if it made it taste better? Or is only the winemaker lowed to tinker with the product? Even for cheaper wines?


I regularly blend, usually between wines that don’t meet my hopes. Within the last week I have had a fairly tannic Cabernet Merlot from Hawkes Bay which I thought was stripping my tongue and added 50% Chilean carmenere which my wife was drinking.

Just because the winemaker had a particular objective in mind it doesn’t mean I have to like it.

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I have blended wines on countless occasions! The classic one is the old recipe for beefing up a tired claret with a splash of port - been there done that! Then there’s make-your-own LLC by mixing LB with with LP - very convincing! I think the last time was mixing Lanessan 08 and 09 - highly successful and much better than either on its own. For me, there is no taboo whatsoever - wine is about enjoyment and who cares if you blend to get a better glass?


Wow! Even though i asked the question, i would be hesitant to mix classified growth Bordeaux unless it was faulty in some way. Very eye opening!

Ha! Well today, in post-Parker times, I find that quite a few bottles I bought ten to fifteen years ago are really not to my taste. It doesn’t mean they’re bad wines, on the contrary, but the lush style doesn’t appeal to me. I do sell the obvious culprits but occasionally I open something which I had hopes for but which I just don’t like: so instead of pouring it straight into the sink I think of how to make it enjoyable. Actually I forgot - the last such experiment was when I opened a Grandes Murailles 09 - absolutely revolting on its own! I blended it with a Larose-Trintaudon 2013, which was rather anaemic on its own - and hey presto, produced a really nice wine! I think it was one third Murailles and two-thirds Larose.


Well that makes total sense, Julian!

Has anyone tried adding fino or Manzanilla to young rose or white wines, both still and sparkling. It definitely adds another dimension when used judiciously.

I often find young wines a little boring and ageing them obviously takes time and the results are always how you’d like them to be. Regular fino and Manzanilla keeps well in the fridge for a week or two, so it can be added to a few different bottles. En rama doesn’t keep so well IME and I think it is a bit too good for blending purposes.

It’s not something I’d try with reds, though! Has anybody ever aged reds under flor? Otto?

I haven’t. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

But no, haven’t heard of such wines. I don’t know if the tannins or something else interferes with the flor - or if those compounds result in off flavors when in contact with flor yeast. Or if acetaldehyde just works quite badly with the red wine aromatics - after all, all wines aged a yeast veil (Fino, Vin Jaune, Szamorodni) are made with more or less neutral varieties (Palomino Fino, Savagnin, Chardonnay, Furmint) that leave a lot of room for the funky notes from the biological aging.

And FWIW, even if the Clos Cibonne wines really are aged under a fleurette, I’ve never noticed any biological aging qualities in any of their rosés. I’ve had some in blind tastings and never managed to pick them up as Clos Cibonne - stylistically they are just any other rosés (apart from being darn great in quality!)

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Wow. That was quick! Great reply, Otto.

My point about CC and also my blends is that the addition notes are very subtle and if i hasn’t read about them in CC or added them myself I’m not sure if I could put my finger on the difference and where it came from.

The other difference in CC is the variety. Tibouren. Almost exclusively used by CC. I notice that Randal Gramh has a rosé with this variety.

Oops. Thread drift. Back to Manzanilla additions…

And my point was that even when I’ve read about the winemaking at Clos Cibonne, I haven’t noticed any perceptible differences in blind rosé wine tastings.

No. Clos Cibonne is one of the few producers who are making varietal Tibouren, but it’s more commonly used in blends. Definitely not (almost) exclusively used by CC.

And they make a lot of red wines from the same variety (under the synonym Rossese di Dolceacqua) a little bit further to the east, on the Ligurian coast. Even an odd rosé, too.

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Us country folk are always mixing and distilling! It’s our DNA.

I’ve done it a number of times, especially back in the day when I had numerous bottles of Parkerized Bordeaux crap, and occasionally cut some with Loire Cab Franc, if I had some open, just to see what happened. Some were quite decent, actually. Granted, this mix is still true to the Bordeaux varietals.

Plus, I understand regular champagne is really great with Florida OJ as well!

I don’t really do this, but I am a fan when winemakers blend to end up with their ideal of the best cuvee’.

For single variety I think of Drouhin’s excellent 1er blends like the Chambolle 1er or Gevrey 1er, which can even out problems across vintage/vineyards and lead to a better expression of the area. I am not a Bordeaux/Napa guy, but Cab+Merlot/Cab Franc/Petit Verdot beats straight Cab for me. Cote Rotie with Viognier? Yes please.

If blending is good enough for these time-honored French reds, why not us?

Great minds think alike! What did you do with all your Cayuse, Ovid etc?!


To be clear, I went to one tasting at Ovid, got more than just a bit tipsy, and left with a lot of wine, at wife’s prodding and so as not to appear like a Cheapskate! My buddy bought four cases plus some mags, 100% true!

And I own no Cayuse. Never had one actually. Would like to at least try.

It happens - I’m sure that Ovid will come in handy with mixing with Loire 2013s! But your friend…four cases…and mags…imagine waking up the next morning and seeing them sitting there grinning at you…poor sod! Enough for a whole life of blending!