A term used differently in viticulture with different meanings in the individual countries. The word comes from the French Cuve (Vat or wine container). In the original sense it means a certain amount of wine in a container (a barrel of wine, so to speak). In German-speaking countries this is usually understood to mean the artful mixing of wines from different grape varieties. But this can also be done Grape must be then fermented together, like this on the southern one Rhône is common. Other names are Glare (New world), Cape Blend (South Africa), CVC (Conjunto de Varias Cosechas in Spain), Coupage, Marriage, Mélange (France for spirits) and Meritage (California).
As a rule, wines of the same color are mixed. The term has no meaning in wine law, therefore "Cuvée" says on the label nothing clear, because it can also be a wine from one Grape variety, from a Single layer or from one vintage be. For example, an exclusive one Special bottling a winery for a catering business. In no case is the blending of wines compared to (as is not so rarely suspected in German-speaking countries) single-variety Crying a negative quality difference.
The blending of wines has mainly taste reasons. You want to go through several different grape varieties Alcohol content, Flavors, acid and colour bring in. The latter is through Complexion types achieved, of which only 5% is sufficient for a deepening of color. Usually a certain grape variety, the so-called Lead variety, the main part of at least 50% of a cuvée and thus determines the character of wine. In addition to taste reasons, there are also practical or economic reasons. Get lost blossom, Fruit set and physiological maturity If one grape variety is unsatisfactory, other grape varieties can compensate. This also minimizes the risk of what used to be called mixed sentence reached, that is, a vineyard with different varieties. How do you measure the success of a cuvée? Quite simply - when the combined wine tastes better than every single batch!
In all countries there are country-specific regulations regarding approved grape varieties different for each wine quality class. Each origin (defined geographical area) it is determined which varieties may be used, whereby a range with percentage minimum to maximum proportions per variety can also be specified. In Italy and France in particular, there are wines with five or more blended grape varieties, such as the Chianti or even 13 at Châteauneuf-du-Pape. But mostly that means gross and often are single-variety Wines allowed. A default could be: Syrah at least 60 to 100%, Grenache Noir ( Garnacha Tinta ) Max. 40%, as well as Mourvèdre ( Monastrell ) and or Cinsaut Max. 25%. Typical cuvées are Bordeaux red wines; the characteristic mix of varieties there is called Bordeaux blend. In the picture a cuvée from the left bank of the river Garonne ( Rive gauche ), with grape varieties (all or only three of them) and proportion each Chateau are different. As a rule, however, the variety dominates in this area Cabernet Sauvignon.
In the German-speaking world, a cuvée usually consists of two, less often more, grape varieties. Whether this on label must be specified, is regulated differently for each country / region / appellation. The mixing of red wine and white wine (whether Bunch of grapes Mash Grape must or wine) is for Quality wine, Country wine and Wine with vintage / variety information within the EU forbidden. As an exception, mixing in any form is only permitted for wine without a vintage / variety. But there are according to EU regulations approved exemptions for certain areas or wines for traditional reasons such as for the Slovenian Cviček, the French Châteauneuf-du-Pape and the Italian Chianti. See under Wine Law (Paragraph waste), as well as with the individual Wine-growing countries.
The must of the first Pressing process in the manufacture of champagne is called Tête de cuvée. After fermentation, up to 50 base wines from different vintages can be blended together (an exception is that Millésime, the so-called vintage champagne). The result of the blending or combination of these wines before the second fermentation (bottle fermentation) is called a cuvee, but the process of blending is called Assemblage (especially when blending young wines). But as I said, these are not clearly defined terms and they are often used in different regional variations. The best barrels (from the best vintages, aged for a long time) make the top product of the house, the so-called Cuvée de Prestige. Becomes a champagne produced from grapes from a layer, this is also called Mono cuvée.
In Bordeaux, the selection of certain barrels and the subsequent blending of the wines is considered Assemblage or marriage. The final cuvée is made year after year from Maître de chai (Cellar master) often only decided in the spring after tasting the wines. The best barrels make it Grand Vin that bears the Château name. The lower quality wines then become Second wine or blended third-party wine and must also have different labels on the bottle label than the top product (the first wine) of the house. The useful calculation formulas for blending are below Blending cross described.
Complete lists of the numerous vinification measures or cellar techniques, as well as the wine, sparkling wine and distillate types regulated by wine law are under the keyword Winemaking contain. There is extensive wine law information under the keyword Wine Law.
Images: Ursula Brühl, Doris Schneider, Julius Kühn Institute (JKI)