Definition - What does Coupage mean?
A coupage is the mixing of a base wine with other varietal wines, which are wines named after and created from a single grape. Coupage entails mixing a red wine base with other varietals of red wines or a white wine base with other white wine varietals. This blending alters, or in some cases enhance the color or taste of the primary base wine.
The term coupage comes from the French word couper, which means "to cut." Traditionally, coupage was only permitted with red wines that were mixed with other red wines, and likewise, white wines with other whites. However, according to new EU laws, it is permissible to blend red wines with white wines to create rosé wines. The coupage process can also include the blending of different varietal vintages to highlight a desired taste or the blending of wines from old and new oak barrel aging to bring out the characteristics of the oak.
WineFrog explains Coupage
Coupage creates a more balance in a wine, with the added desire to enhance the color or taste of the primary base wine.
Each wine is made of a single varietal. They are then later selected to mix together. According to French wine laws, coupage was only permitted in Champagne in the mixing of red wines with white wines to produce Rosé Champagne. Recently, however, the law has been extended, permitting the practice in other wine regions to introduce a "cheaper" rosé into the market.
The term, coupage is often used interchangeably with assemblage, however, they are not synonymous. Coupage sometimes has a negative connotation, as it means "to cut," which mirrors the idea of stretching a wine while assemblage is more used to note blending for the creation of a superior product.