You are choosing a wine and you will see this expression on the label: "Field Blend"... what does that mean?
From now on, doubts are gone! Basically, Field Blend indicates a plot of the vineyard.
This has always been a way of maintaining the quality of the wines produced, for centuries. The ancients planted the different grape varieties in the same vineyard as a way to guarantee quality.
But there was another goal in this method of production. It was the best way to get around crop losses due to the weather conditions of a year, since having the different grape varieties planted in your vineyard, there would be less likelihood and risk of crop loss.
A Field Blend, in oenology, is a vineyard, typically very old, in which several mixed grape varieties were planted.
The reason for this has always been to guarantee a complete batch and consistent quality. The way that centuries ago was found to achieve a “perfect” lot was to plant in the same vineyard varieties that guarantee good color, others that guarantee fruity aromas and even vines that guarantee structure and acidity, and thus obtain a batch of consistent quality for years.
The region in Portugal where wines made from old vines are most easily found, where we find more than 30 different varieties of grapes in a vineyard, is the Douro region.
This region was once a sea of this type of vineyards, but today, with all the EU support and reconversion of old vineyards into new vineyards, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find these treasures.
In the vineyard, as in the cellar, the key expression to produce this type of wine, in my opinion, is “respect for the terroir”.
When I produce a Field Blend I feel like honoring the old traditions, bringing the truths of yesteryear to the present day.
A Field Bend is a vineyard that is harvested all at the same time and that ferment all together. It would be impossible for more than 30 different grape varieties to ripen at the same time, which is why these wines are the ultimate expression of “terroir”, as here the grape varieties themselves play a minor role.
What is wanted here is the expression of the vine and the grapes at the point of maturation of the day when the decision to harvest is taken.
There are several regions in Portugal where you can create different types of Field Blend.
At Casca Wines we produce wines of this type in the Bairrada region, but here the baga variety speaks a little louder than the others found in the vineyard. In Dão region, although our vineyard is more than 80 years old and has different grape varieties planted separately, we harvest the entire vineyard in one day and the grapes ferment all together, guaranteeing a Field Blend.
Regardless of the type of Field Blend, one thing is certain: in these wines it is the team that speaks the loudest and not the uniqueness of each variety. A kind of one for all and all for one.