A few weeks ago I was asked to participate in a blending competition against 9 other wine bloggers using the Crushpad Fusebox, a custom home based blending kit. At the time of this writing all the entries are in and two winners, one for best blend and one for best label, will be announced next week on November 9th. Each winner will receive a case of their blend and, more importantly, bragging rights amongst the bloggers.
I thought it would be cool to introduce our audience to the Crushpad Fusebox and then follow that up with a video that gives some more detail and shows me in action tasting and blending our unique wine for the competition.
First of all, Crushpad is a state of the art custom crush facility in San Francisco, California that can help you fulfill your dream or desire to make wine. You can be involved as much or as little as you want and can even manage the making of your wine from half way around the globe using some really cool technology to review data about your wine. It's really an impressive and fun organization.
The Fusebox is a home based blending kit that enables you, or a group of friends, to taste and blend your own bordeaux style wine using the four traditional varietals used in making bordeaux blends. The wines come from highly regarded vineyards in Napa Valley and include Cabernet Sauvignon (2), Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the wine that was provided for blending.
The Fusebox also includes a graduated cylinder and four pipettes to measure each varietal accurately. There is an instruction book, recipe cards (of some of the best blends in the world), tasting place mats and tasting cards to give you all you need to turn yourself into a winemaker. The kit also has a really nice winekeeper/bartender corkscrew with the Crushpad logo.
The kit costs $79.99 and, though a bit expensive, offers great quality wine and hours of fun. The kit would be great in a small group setting of 4-6 people. It is worth the money if you have ever wondered what it might be like to blend your own wine. Once you have tasted, experimented and settled on the perfect blend you can enjoy your creation and then go online and order your wine by the case as well as design a custom label for your master creation.
In addition to what you find in the kit there are a number of resources on the Crushpad website that are invaluable including a full conversion chart for converting percentages to milliliters for blending accurately. Also included is a mystery wine, made from the same wines in the kit, that you can taste and guess what percentages of each varietal make up the wine. You can then go to the website and enter your guess to find out how sharp of a palate you have. Fusebox makes it very easy for you to blend your own wine, create a custom label, enjoy it with friends or give it away as a gift. It really is a ton of fun!
I spent more than 5 hours carefully tasting, blending and dialing in the percentages of each varietal to try and craft the best wine possible. I went into it merely looking to enjoy the Fusebox, have some fun blending wine and learn a little bit about what it is like to carefully blend wine. I have to admit that my competitive juices started flowing and I was way more detailed and focused then I expected to be. My tasting notes on each of the 4 varietals were very detailed and I tested and tasted 19 different blends before finally settling on what I thought offered the best wine.
In the next day or so I will share video of my tasting and blending the wine, my final blend percentages, my label as well as my overall thoughts on the process of blending wine. It was quite an eye opener!
Disclaimer: Pulling The Cork received a complimentary Fusebox in order to participate in the competition but we were under no obligation to provide a positive review.