Coupage is a French word that we can translate as blending or mixture. It is a methodology widely used in the wine world for its many technical advantages. With a Coupage, an expert enologist can improve the final quality of the wine and also provide volume and correct any defects or imbalances that the enologist may consider in the mixes.
A Coupage may be early coupage, just after completing the wine fermentation, in which case the expert is building the wine he has in mind or correcting the flavour he wants to obtain. It may also be a late coupage, to correct deviations that could be produced along conservation of the wine in the cellar.
In any case, the goal of the Coupage is to obtain a final wine that is going to be better and stable over time in comparison to the individual wines that are mixed in the process.
This complementarity can be made by:
This practice is very common in the wine industry, and is usually made to refresh the aromatic profile of the wine, to increase the reactivity of the wine and also to increase the durability. While in flavour terms these corrections are really easy to do, in aromatic terms the mixture is more complex.
STRUCTURE / FAT
This is one of the most interesting mixtures when considering a Coupage. Wines can be harmonious, aggressive or flats based on this pairing. What is important is whether the aggressiveness of wine comes from over-structure or a lack of fat. The relativity of this perception structure/fat will be marked by the longevity of the wine.
It is not desirable to mix a wine with a phenolic thiol as phenols and thiols oxidize all lose the potential of the first aromatic. Wine has many chemical dimensions simultaneously, as sweetness, astringency, bitterness, sourness and hot. When you increase the bitterness of the wine, it also increases the nature of the alcohol or when acidity increases, so does the profile of astringency.
The great wines of the world are complex. Therefore, the better the wine is, the greater its complexity must be. To achieve a Coupage of these characteristics, it is necessary to use wines with a wide variety of aromatic profiles.
AN ACCEPTED PRACTICE
separate fermentation containers, or distinct varietals. Blending is a practice that has grown to a concept that many winemakers are implementing in their vineyards with the purpose of blending varietals together to obtain a better product at the end.
Coupage is a practice that can help to get balance in the wine, add layers of flavours, and integrate in a better way the tannins and acids. A Coupage allows the enologists to select the best characteristics of different wines and then mix them together to create a much better flavour profile, it is a methodology that, in the hands of an expert, could be considered as an art.