Mama's Got a Fusebox

Fusebox1I recently accepted the Fusebox Blendoff Challenge from Crushpad, where I would compete against some great internet bloggers like Dirty South Wine, Purple Teeth Diaries, NorCal Wine, Cellar Mistress, Pulling the Cork, Another Wine Blog, A Good Time with Wine, and Savvy Taste.  We each received a Fusebox, a home wine making kit which comes with enough equipment for you to make your very own Bordeaux red blend out of Napa wines.  Not only will our blends will be graded, but our own homemade labels as well.  Here is a bit more info on the fun I had with this product:

Fusebox2So, I opened the box, and inside were six 375ml bottles: 2 Cabernet Sauvignon, a Merlot, Petite Verdot, Cabernet Franc, and a bottle labeled "Mystery Wine".  There was also a guidebook, a graduated cylinder, and pipettes.  All of these would help me create my very own blend.

Now, for those of us who do not know what a "Bordeaux blend" is, it is basically a red wine comprised of the grape varietals available in the Bordeaux wine region.  The five main grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petite Verdot, and Malbec are used, along with some Carmenere showing up in some blends.  Each grape adds its characteristics to the wine, such as color, tannin, body, structure, aromatics, spice, etc.  This all depends upon the wine maker.

Getting back to my work, I started by opening each bottle, and trying to pick up color notes, aromas, and flavorFusebox3 components for each wine.  I then noted differences, and used those to help me with my blending.  I tried at least five different blends before I finished with my final: a blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Cabernet Franc, 8% Petite Verdot, and 7% Merlot.  Most wines from the "left bank" or left side of the Gironde river, are Cabernet Sauvignon based, and I found this varietal in the fusebox to have very good power and body, good for a base wine.  I added a good amount of the Cabernet Franc because I found the aromatics to be stunningly good, and a touch of sweet ripe fruit on the palate.  The Petite Verdot had an awesome deep color, and the tannins were extremely well structured.  The Merlot was kind of supple and slutty, and I wanted a touch in the blend.

Then it was time to label my wine.  I called my wine "Prima Volta Cellars: Lil' Bambina Red".  Prima Volta means "first time" in Italian, and I love the phrase for the fresh start and innocent qualities it lends to a little baby, or lil' bambina.  This is a tribute to my unborn little girl, who is being carried by my beautiful wife, and will be delivered to us in January.

As far as the "Mystery Wine" goes, you must try to figure out the percentages of varietals used, and log into the given website for the answers.  I was actually pretty close on my estimates, but it is certainly a difficult task to get something like that right!

Also, this blog post's name is a play on The Who song Mama's Got a Squeezebox.  I had a good laugh off that one!