What happens when you start blending wine? You sometimes have a little bit more wine than you would otherwise, and end up writing silly parodies for your blog posts. Here’s one such ditty:
Mama’s got a Fusebox
She uses to make blends
And when Daddy gets on home
that’s when the fun begins…
They gotta blend it right
Samplin’ every blend in sight
Mama’s got a FuseBox
Daddy’s head is feeling’ light!
– With apologies to The Who for this homage to “Squeeze Box”
Along with eight other wine bloggers, Joe and I competed in a Crushpad FUSEBOX Blending Contest. Our mission? Create a Napa Bordeaux blend, as well as a label, to compete in two categories. Originally we were going to compete as a team. Joe suggested he’d do the front of the label, and I’d write the copy for the back, as well as make sure all the technical specifications were correct (because Joe hates reading rules and I am a rules freak!) And we’d do the blending together.
So that was the plan. Since all conditions had to be right (did I mention I’m a bit OCD) for the blending and Joe’s allergies were acting up, we started on the labels. We came up with a name that was a takeoff on the blog – “Another Wine Blend.”
Then we got to the blending. Since I’d won a couple previous blending contests, I think Joe’s plan was to leave the tasting to me and the blending to himself. He doesn’t remember it this way, but I swear he created FIVE blends before I ever got a chance to put pipette into wine. Rather than relying only on my taste buds, I tried to duplicate my HALL blending experience as a base, converting the percentages of each wine as compared to the aroma and flavor profiles of the Fusebox wines. My first blend was a little too tannic. While Joe created another blend, I was trying to calculate proportions to change the balance. I got one more turn when Joe decided he needed to take a break, and when he came back he swears I was in the same position. His pictures of me would lead one to believe he was correct. But I still maintain he was hogging the equipment because there are four pictures of Joe to every one of me.
In the middle of the night a few days after blending I woke up with “an idea!” So I sat up in bed and started sketching on a napkin. When I told Joe the name, and showed him the sketch – he decided he liked that better, because it was a take off on his name “HoustonWino.” So while Joe was watching the Detroit Lions “not win” at the local Sports Bar, I was taking pictures of our house to make into our “château.” But we live in your basic built-in-the-70s two-story. My mother, however, has a more of an Alsace château facade — so her house became the inspiration for the label.
So we had two labels, one more contemporary, bright and targeted more toward “millennials” or Generation Y, and the other toward the more traditional wine drinker. Joe wanted to use only one of the labels and put with “the best blend,” which of course, he deemed as “his.” I wanted to enter my blend as well and after a bit of a “discussion,” we decided the traditional label should go with Joe’s blend, and the bright, colorful label should go with my “bolder” blend.
Châteaux des Wineaux “Sac de Papier” – 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon
Not everyone can live like royalty, but anyone should be able to enjoy a fine Napa Cabernet Sauvignon in the style of a classic Bordeaux blend. Our Sac de Papier blends the finest Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc grapes from the Napa Valley to create something truly special for all to enjoy. From our châteaux to yours, we hope we’ll make a wineaux out of you too!
And of course I went into the TTB.gov registry for COLAs, as well as the Patent & Trademark database as well as the “interwebs” to see if the names had been taken, having recently attended a Winery & Wine Distribution Law seminar that gave me just about enough information to be dangerous.
Another Wine Blend – Cabernet Sauvignon – Napa Valley 2007
This isn’t just your grandfather’s Cabernet Sauvignon in a pretty package, but a big bold blend of juicy Napa goodness that adds the earth & leather of Cabernet Franc, the Spice of Merlot, and the sweet juicy berry burst from Petit Verdot. So don’t think you have to sit with your parents in a dark den to enjoy — share it with your friends on the patio or in front of the fireplace with the one you don’t want to get away!
We filled out the paperwork, converted our labels to .pdfs and e-mailed them to Linda at Crushpad. We used a combination of Photoshop, Open Office, Microsoft Publisher and Gimp to produce our labels. But if you’re interested in blending and ordering your own FUSEBOX wine, Crushpad has on-line software to help you create yours. We got our kit in exchange for our participation in the contest. But it’s only $79.99 if you’d like to do it yourself.
We had a blast! And can’t wait to see how we did!