Definition - What does Assemblage mean?

Assemblage refers to a wine-making technique involving the blending of various lots prior to bottling. The key behind assemblage is winemaker's judgment in knowing what lots might support each other in a blend. That is, to be considered for assemblage, wines must prove to be compatible with balanced flavors that neither overpower nor fade when blended together.

Assemblage makes it possible to create balanced wines without compromising the unique features of each varietal.

WineFrog explains Assemblage

You can think of assemblage as a winemaker's art. This act of blending different wines together to create a unique and complex product allows a winemaker to use his or her full creativity. To accomplish this, several lots of wine are analyzed for certain characteristics that make it suitable for blending - compatible flavors and similar strengths that can make up for any weaknesses in each wine. The lots can be differentiated in a number of ways:

  • Different grape varieties
  • Same grape varieties harvested from different sections of the vineyard
  • Types of barrels
  • Grapes harvested at different times of the season

Bordeaux and Champagne are two well-known wines that use this technique. For example, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec are different varietals blended for Bordeaux.

Assemblage is also a critical step in creating Champagne. Grapes from several vineyards and harvests are combined to make the classic Champagne. Winemakers also use reserves of aged stock barrels to blend with more recent vintages in order to enhance the drinkability of young Champagne.