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Are Blends Better Than Single Vineyard and Grape Wines?

Perusing an article about the future of Argentine Malbec in The Drinks Business, where eight views on the subject are espoused, I came across the story of a restaurant wine director so fanatical about single vineyard Malbecs from Argentina that he has a separate list of 25 wines, allowing for customers to sample distinct regional expressions of the grape. Sounds like a good idea, right? So it was surprising to read a contrarian response from Chief Winemaker at Cheval des Andes Nicolas Audebert regarding the primacy of the single vineyard, single grape wine.

"A single block, single grape wine is like a violin solo--it can be great but it will never compete with the sound of an orchestra,” begins Audebert. “There’s only so much complexity you can glean from a single site. I believe in the power of blends, which are more than the sum of their parts.”

This comes as a blow to fans of violin solos and, more importantly, raises an interesting question about wine: are single vineyard, single grape wines "better" than blends? Or, rather, which one can achieve greater heights?

Are the greatest wines you've drank more like a violin solo or an orchestra?

Speaking of violins and orchestras, can playing classical music in the vineyards make for better wine?




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