French Colombard Wine: Varietal Focus

The fresh and floral and citrus flavors that are crisp and acidic at a low cost are the standard for Colombard (pronounced”Cole-um-bar” or “kahl-um Barrd”). Colombard was among the extensively planted white grapevine in California until it was diminished in the late 80s and early 1990s due to Chardonnay. In terms of wine labeled as a varietal, Colombard is not as well-known in wine shops in the present as it was from 1960 to 1980.

Originating from the Charente region in Southwest France, Colombard is often utilized as a blending grape to make table wine, in addition to being a wine base during the process of distillation to make Armagnac (brandy). It is also used in the United States. It produces an abundance of crops that provide a priced wine, referred to by the name of French Colombard, as well as an essential base wine for distillation and for use as the base wine to blend with other white wines. Colombard is a great wine to mix with Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, and Shiraz.

What should you mix?

You can increase complexity or resolve balance issues that may be present in an unbalanced but well-made wine by mixing. The trick is identifying the best wine to blend and blending them in appropriate quantities.

The possibilities for blending are endless. The possibilities for home winemakers are endless, and they aren’t required to follow specific rules for blending, in contrast to commercial wines. For instance, French red Bordeaux can only be blended that contains Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Malbec, and Carmenere. In the same way, in Tuscany, Italy, Chianti Classico is only able to be made up of blends of approved varieties like Sangiovese, Canaiolo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, or Syrah to be legally recognized as authentic Chianti Classico by the region’s winemaking regulations.

If you are a beginner blender, the best route to try is to test blends that have been proven to be effective for blending, like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot or Chardonnay and Semillon — based on the combinations you have your hands on. Because many home winemakers who are beginners typically work with a single bottle of wine one time, this can be an ideal opportunity to connect with other home winemakers and trade wine for mixing. It is also possible to prepare your blends in advance by making smaller amounts of wines of different varieties -whether using fresh juice or grapes or a kit of wine. (for more information on the wine kit for blending, Tim Vandergrift discusses the topic in his piece). Also, for some charts of common blends and complementary grapes, visit

Blending safeguards

Blending is an excellent method to alter your wine to improve its quality. However, what you shouldn’t blend is wines with imperfections that result in poor winemaking. For instance, when your wine is contaminated with Brettanomyces or has another irreparable flaw, the mixing of it with a different wine is not going to make it better – you’ll get a greater amount of wine that is flawed.

Blending should also be performed in smaller tests before mixing the whole batch. This process is referred to as “bench trials.” It involves mixing just a few milliliters at a time, observing, and finally blending the entire batch once you’re happy with the particular blend. This reduces the chance of destroying a whole batch of wine by making use of a lot of blending ingredients. For a helpful spreadsheet for doing blending calculations, visit


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