What is a coupage? This word of French origin, is used to define the wine that have been developed using different grapes, unlike varietals and monovarietal wines, made of 100% of the same grape.
But even if we understand the coupage as a mix, this does not mean that we put different grapes to “fill? the tank and make wine. On the contrary, for centuries the relationship between grapes has been studied. The best combinations were investigated to get a wonderful wine. In fact, in most cellars each coupage is elaborated separately (ie, a different wine of each variety is done), and is sometimes aged separately. It is only before the bottling that the flavor is studied to find the perfect mix.
In some areas this coupage or mixture of grapes has become part of their identity, for example:
- The classic coupage of Rioja is made of Tempranillo, Mazuelo and Graciano.
- The traditional cava is made from Macabeo, Parellada and xarel.lo, while
- French sparkling champagne choose the combination of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay.
- In Porto, a historic area of sweet wines, one can find up to 6 coupages : Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional, Tinta Cao, Tinta Amarela, tinta Barroca and Tinta Roriz, although they can make wines with only 3 or 4 of these grapes.
- About sweet wines, in Sauternes, the sweet white area with noble rot, they usually combine Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon.
- And in France, many sub areas of Bordeaux traditionally use some combination of these grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot.
- Even the most “modern” areas have their own combinations: for example, in Australia there is a widely used coupage called “GSM?: Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre.
- And speaking of “modern” areas in Spain, at least more modern than the historical Rioja, in the Ribera del Duero, where many of the wines are monovarietal Tempranillo, you can also find coupages with Cabernet Sauvignon to offer some of the great wines of this area.
Do you have a favorite coupage? Do you know any ?famous” coupage in other areas? Today we recommend 2 wines with seducing coupages:
Faustino I Gran Reserva 1964
Antinori Tignanello 2010