Kendall-Jackson Blog > Wine Education > Summation Red Is A Renegade

Summation Red Is A Renegade

Summation Red

There’s a new wine in the Kendall-Jackson lineup, one that doesn’t follow the traditional rules: Summation Red.  Summation is a renegade blend. We’ve always worked with blends, but this one breaks the rules.

Several of my previous posts discuss the varied and multiple wine lots we work with when crafting a wine; after all, a blend is greater than the sum of its parts.  Summation breaks the conventional rules of blending.

We’ll talk about the wine in a second, but first a little wine blending background.

Many wine regions in the world promote blended wines from different grape varieties.  In fact, most wines from the “old world” (read: Europe) involve different grape varieties and blends that aren’t ever mentioned on the label.  St. Emilion (Bordeaux) means that the wine is grown from grapes approved for that area.  The fact that many wines from this region are a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc grapes is a point of trivia that the consumer must discover on his or her own.

In the United States we have a tradition of labeling wines by the variety that they represent.  When we do blend different varieties into the same wine, we most often follow convention (read: Old World).  I work on several wines that are “Bordeaux blends,” which means they are composed of a blend of wines from different grape varieties that are traditionally grown in Bordeaux.  There are five principal varieties from the region: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot.
Other wines that are derived from common traditional blending include G-S-M wines (Grenache-Syrah-Mourvedre), traditionally from the Southern Rhone, Syrah-Viognier blends (from Côte Rôtie) and several others.

But when we entertain a blend like Summation we are breaking with convention and blend to suit, not a traditional combination — but a hedonistic preference.  I was asked to work on creating a wine that was “non-traditional.”  I looked at blending components that I have always worked with and appreciated for their intrinsic differences.  In the end, I could “see” a blend that contained the best of many worlds.

The wine we carved out of these raw materials has the plush, round palate of Merlot, structure derived from Cabernet Sauvignon, and high-toned fruit and spice from Zinfandel and Syrah.  The one “secret ingredient” I include — if I can call it that — lends an element of juicyness, meatiness and concentration.  This is a real outlaw of a variety; one that Southern France banned a century ago, but that has found a home in California,  Petite Sirah.  I typically blend in 5-10% to make the whole potion come together.

Summation is renegade.  Summation is hedonistic.  I love making wine like this.

CATEGORY: Wine Education, Winemaker

  • Jim

    Hey Matt,

    I want to bend our GR Syrah with the HE Vognier. What would be a good percentage of each to start with?

    Jim at the Healdsburg Tasting Room

  • Winemaker Matt

    Hi Jim,

    Thanks for the question. Ahh, the Côte-Rôtie blend: Enticing indeed. I would start small, say 5-10%. The aromatics from the Viognier will go a long way. Often, these grapes are Co-fermented, which means that the white grapes are crushed along with the red grapes and fermented on the skins. This leads to better integration and often you can use a higher percentage in the blend. For Syrah-Viognier finished wine blending, though, I’d start on the low end.

    It should be interesting. Let me know how it turns out!

    Matt

  • Jim Carlson

    Thanks Matt,

    I’ll try it and let you know.

    Jim

  • Lee Klug

    Matt,
    To you sir, I take off my hat!!! A friend recently left a bottle of Summation Red unopened at our home. We tried it the other night, and I must say what a pleasant surprise and delight to the tongue. As the say in Ireland, Brilliant!!! I look forward to enjoying many more bottles in the future.
    Thank You,
    The Klugs

    • Winemaker Matt

      Cheers to you Lee! Thanks for sharing your impression with me. Glad you enjoy it. It’s a lot of fun to make!

      Matt

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  • James

    Summation is selling briskly in Michigan. Kroger & Meijer run good sale prices. Word of mouth building. C. Hupp is an enthusiast. Can’t hurt

    • Winemaker Matt

      Good news that we’re building support in my home state! Thanks for the comment James (Dad)!

      Matt

  • Gilian

    Matt, another reason I think this wine is so good is that it pairs beautifully with so many foods at the table…many red wines are somewhat pigeonholed, because of their singular profile. Cab and steak, heck yeah. Zin and ribs, bring it on. Syrah and cassoulet, oh my. But the other night I took the Summation to a friend’s potluck and it went with the sausages, the lamp chops, the ribs and all the usual meaty suspects, but then lo and behold, it played nicely with the roasted pepper and eggplant pasta, the tomato and smoked mozzarella pizza and the tapenade crostini. Nicely done, sir.

  • Winemaker Matt

    Cheers Gil!

    I agree completely. It works well with a lot of food. And isn’t that the main reason we appreciate wine? Thanks for the feedback.

    Matt

  • Albert Santoni

    Matt, Summation is a great wine. We tried the wine this past Sunday with our family meal and it was a big hit. Everyone liked the wine and it was gone in no time. I am going out to buy some more Summation.

    • Winemaker Matt

      Thanks Albert. Looking forward to enjoying it with everyone at the reunion in July. Glad they will be able to carry it for the event!

      Matt

  • Sabina Lane

    OH! What a great wine! We’ve lived in Europe for many years, this wine is on my top ten list…I bought a case at “cost world plus store”.

    Went back to the store recently and was told they were out, didn’t know when they get more in…YIKES!!

    Where else can I purchase this wonderful wine?

    Thanks!!!!

    Sabina

    • Winemaker Matt

      Sabina,

      Thanks for the comment and really glad you enjoy it. I’m not sure what market you live in, but it should be readily available at the large chain groceries or places like Cost Plus. Let me know what city you are near, and I should be able to pinpoint it.

      Thanks,

      Matt

    • http://www.vinetastings.blogspot.com Julie Collins

      I’ve started seeing the Summation red almost everywhere… Safeway, Albertson’s and even Kroger grocery stores…. Good luck!

      I LOVE the Summation white, and I have about 7 bottles in my collection.

  • Joe Santini

    Matt, Summation has been a regular since you introduced it to us back in March; Ellie & I have brought it to our friends homes & to events! of course everyone enjoyed Summation( I wouldn’t have it any other way)! Seriously, as others have noted, Summation can be enjoyed with all kinds of food! I believe it is well received here in Southern California, but when I was visiting Ann in Atlanta(Cumming, Ga), we went to a number of grocery stores & could not find; at Kroger’s, the slot was labeled Summation, but no Summation, it had Meritage(sp) in the space! Uncle Joe

    • Winemaker Matt

      Uncle Joe!

      Glad you’ve found a new favorite wine to go to. There are still a few cases of the 2007 Meritage on shelves out there. Undoubtedly that Kroger’s still had some in stock. They should be transitioning very soon. Our friends in Cumming will have to wait a bit longer!

      Thanks,

      Matt

  • Ingrid

    My favorite wine! Enough said.

    • Winemaker Matt

      Thanks for the nice comment Ingrid!

      Matt

  • Bill

    We had several bottles of Summation at Burt lake two weekends ago and rally enjoyed them. Do you think Summation will improve with age and how long could I expect it to last in a cool, dry, Michigan cellar?

    • Winemaker Matt

      Bill,

      Thanks for the comment and glad you enjoyed the wine! Summation 2007 is ready to drink right now. It will fare well, in proper storage, for another 5 years or more. But one of the most compelling things about the wine, for me anyway, is the expressive fruit flavors and aromas. These, sadly, will fade with age and bottle-aged character will become more dominant. I promise to keep making these wines bright and flavorful with great fruit so you can always enjoy them young!

      Matt

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  • Lynn

    Hi Matt,
    A friend and I found a bottle of Summation at at tiny shop in Shaver Lake. We loved it. And now we want to find more, but can’t! Any ideas on where to find some?
    Lynn

  • Jackie

    I miss the meritage wine. I do not think that the summation compares at all.
    I recently found some meritage while traveling and bought all that I could get my hands on. I am now looking for a new blend wine to replace the Meritage.

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  • Fred

    Congratulations to KJ – great wine.

    • http://blog.kj.com/ Kendall-Jackson Winery

      Cheers Fred. It’s a favorite wine in-house during the bbq season.

  • Kat

    I love this! Found it at the Windsor Safeway!

  • Dawn

    Fred Meyers in Cornelius Oregon was sampling it and I thought the taste was pleasant and unique. I bought a bottle and the next time I have a free evening at home for some Mom time, it’s being uncorked!

    • http://blog.kj.com/ Kendall-Jackson Winery

      Cheers and enjoy!

  • Phillie the Fish

    I picked up a bottle of 2009 KJ Summation at Sam’s club here in Kissimmee, Florida ( Walt Disney World’s Florida home) a few days ago. After reading the label it compelled me to make the purchase. I was waiting for a real hearty dish to try it out on, however after reading the comments I’m going to pop the cork this evening with grilled pork chops. Will further comment after I try it.

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