Zen Breath 3-2-1

Note: You are receiving this email because you subscribed to my weekly 3-2-1 newsletter or you subscribed to the Koi Zen Cellars newsletter. Every Friday, I share 3 wine terms, 2 quotes from me, and 1 question for you to ponder. Occasionally, I also send out long-form articles on habits and self-improvement.

"Some of the most expensive wine in the world are blends"
~ Zen Winemaker ~

3 terms, 2 quotes, 1 question

March 18, 2022

Happy Friday! Time to wrap up this week and get ready for the next! Take a deep breath and kick off the weekend on a positive note. Let's consider where we have been, improve it, and move forward next week. Packing the most content into the least words and trying to change the world, one glass at a time.

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3 - Wine Terms - Wine Blending

Americans love their single varietals, single vineyard, single block, single batch, etc. however, some of the best wines in the world are blends which those "single" people snob at.

When I teach my Wine Blending classes, we first learn how to analyze a wine in respect to tannins, acids, alcohol, body, texture, primary, secondary, and tertiary notes. And through this analysis one can often find strengths and weaknesses in a wine.

For example, Cabernet Sauvignon often has strong tannins (mouth drying) and black cherry, black current, and baking spice notes. Merlot is often softer with less tannins with red fruit notes with chocolate and vanilla. While each wine is fine alone, by blending them together we create a more complex and interesting wine.

So let's look at a few classic wine blends found around the world.
  1. Bordeaux - this region in France produces some of the most expensive wines in the world. In Bordeaux there are a 5 main types of red grapes grown: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Franc, and Petite Verdot.

    The region is split by the river Garonne into what is referred to as the "Left Bank" and "Right Bank"

    The Left bank produces wines that are typically Cabernet Sauvignon based, while the Right bank produces wines that are Merlot based, both using the other varietals as blenders. Almost all of the red wine in Bordeaux is blended.
  2. Rhone Region - in southern France flows the Rhone river and this are is known for producing some fantastic blends. While there are many different varieties grown, the largest produced red varietals are Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre.

    In the Châteauneuf du Pape (CDP) region of the Rhone they blend these three wines together. You can easily identify a CDP bottle of wine due to a raised emblem on the bottle. The Australians would call this blend a GSM? Can you guess why?
  3. Super Tuscan - just like the French, the Italians have very strict laws on what types of grapes can be grown where and how, but a rebellious group of winemakers wanted to experiment with what the world wanted, not what the government wanted. In 1992 these rebels won and the government created a new classification of IGT ( Indicazione Geografica Tipica). Under this classification, the winemakers can do just about anything they want as long as the grapes came from the area the wine was made.

    While Sangiovese is a common base wine, Super Tuscan's can be blended with anything, often Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon to give it structure and texture. Unlike a CDP which you know what is in it, in a Super Tuscan you just never know what the blend is.
P.S. Check our our newest blend and release Enigma below.

2 - Quotes from Me:

  1. "Only through blending can you be unique." ~ Zen Winemaker
  2. "Smile at the fortuitous random events in your life." ~ Zen Winemaker

1 - Question to ponder:


Sometimes there is a confluence of events that just make you scratch your head - and in this case it is a wine that we just released called Enigma .

The reason it is named Enigma?

One end of the barrel was labeled as 2018 Malbec. The other end was labeled 2018 Merlot and then some faded markings indicated it was also topped with 2 other wines. Most of the marking were in chalk and in some places it had worn off or washed away due to splashing.

But when we tasted it, it was a wonderful surprise. Not only was it good, it was fantastic. There were only two problems: we don't know what the blend was so there was no way we could reproduce it. The second problem was that there was only one barrel of it - so only 24 cases will ever exist.

There are two ways to think about this Enigma: as Blessing or a Failure.

What do you think?


Do you habitually focus more on your blessings or your loses?

Zen Giggles:

It was a busy night at Stonehenge as workers moved the stones ahead one hour.

A Pessimist sees a dark tunnel.
An Optimist sees light at the end of the tunnel
The Realist sees a freight train
The Conductor sees three idiots on the tracks.

Fun fact: "Sugar" is the only word in the English language where "su-" makes a "sh" sound...

At least, I'm pretty su re that's correct.

~~ Notice ~~

How many times you are optimistic versus pessimistic


A favor:

We strive to foster a community who are excited to learn about wine and create a better world for all. We are a small business and appreciate your support. Please encourage others to subscribe to this newsletter and build the community of like minded people. And don't forget to give me some feedback on what you want to learn about - I love hearing from you.

Also, if you are at a point in life where you desire change, but don't know what, where, or how - I suggest taking my online class on Finding Your Passion HERE. It might be the best investment you ever made.


Darius Miller - The Zen Winemaker

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Author of a #1 best seller:
'The Zen Winemaker - Follow Your Dreams & Overcome Your Fears'

Creator of:

'The Zen Wine Tasting Journal - Life is too short to drink bad wine, or to wear ugly underwear.'

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