Fields blends may sound mundane but they can be delightfully surprising. Most vineyards are planted with specific grape varieties. When a vineyard is planted with multiple varieties and these grapes are harvested and fermented at the same time, it results in a field blend wine. This style of wine is most common in Old World countries (mainly those in Europe). Originally, fields were planted with different grapes to achieve a balance in such characteristics as color, flavor, texture, and acidity. It also helped ensure a yield if there were environmental factors that affected the crops such as spring frost on the early budding varieties. Rather than pull up vines to replant or spend exorbitant amounts of money to DNA type the vines, many winemakers choose to create field blends reflecting the heritage of the area.
The wine I selected to sample this week is a 2018 Red Table Wine from Leo Steen that I picked up last weekend on a trip to Sonoma. The grapes are grown in the Redwood Valley AVA, north of Sonoma County. Instead of pulling out the over 70 year old vines, the vineyard found renewed life by receiving some desperately needed love from a farmer. As a result, this medium ruby wine had a rich, complex taste. It had aromas of red cherries, pomegranate, licorice, wintergreen, and cranberries. It had a noticeable woody scent that was more reminiscent of thin, woody stems than smoked oak barrels. On the palate, it had bright acidity with great red fruit flavors which were followed by wet stone and the faintest hint of wintergreen. At first, the tannins gave the impression they’ll be grippy but they rapidly smoothed out and toned down. This wine is enjoyable to drink now but will continue to be great for years to come as well! This red blend also had a wine grape, French Colombard, in it. This gave me #173!