Red Blends: What You Need to Know

Red blends are red wines made from a variety of grape varieties. Red blends can be made from a variety of grape varieties around the globe. Red blends are more common in certain regions than single-grape wines (or monovarietal) wines. The Bordeaux region in France, California, Rioja in Spain, and parts of California are all popular blend-heavy areas.

What grapes are used to make red blends?

Any red grape variety can be used to make red blends. Certain grapes, such as pinot noir, Gamay and Nebbiolo, are usually vinified into monovarietal wines, so they are not often used in blends. Certain regional blends may also include other red grapes. Blends made from Bordeaux’s Left Bank include a lot of cabernet sauvignon. Right Bank blends, on the other hand, are made from merlot-heavy base. Rioja red blends are made mainly with tempranillo. Other Spanish red blends, as well as many Portuguese ones, are made from “field blends” which are made from many native grape varieties.

What does a red blend taste like?

Red blends can have a wide range of flavor profiles. The grape varieties used and the vinification methods used will determine their final flavor profiles. Blends that are heavy in cabernet will typically be rich and full-bodied, while those that are dominated by merlot will be more smooth and silky. You don’t know which grapes are in a particular blend? For more information on a particular bottle, ask your trusted sommelier or local retailer. A quick internet search of the distributor’s website will provide you with useful information about a bottle. To find out who imports or distributes the wine, simply look at the label on the bottle. Their website will provide all the information you need.

What are good food pairings with red blends?

Red blends are versatile and can be paired with many dishes. It is best to choose a food that matches the wine’s flavor profile. Red blends go well with meaty dishes like pizza and red sauce pasta, as well as with charcuterie boards and hearty stews and juicy burgers.

Chateau Coutet St. Emilion

Bordeaux wines are all about the blends. This Right Bank gem is great for now or foraging. Merlot is the main ingredient in St. Emilion wines. This smooth wine is a blend of 30% Cabernet Franc and a small amount of cabernet sauvignon or malbec. It has a rich, velvety texture and aromas of blue and black fruits, crushed blackberries and currants, as well as a hint of sweet spice. Chateau Coutet is a historic winery with more than 400 years experience. Today, all its vineyards are organically farmed.

Domaine du Pelican ‘Trois Cepages’ Arbois

This domain is the Jura project by Burgundian winemaker Guillaume d’Angerville. His pinot noirs from Volnay have won the hearts and minds of wine lovers around the world. This easy-to-drink, juicy bottle is made from a combination of pinot noir, trousseau and poulsard. This fruit-driven bottle is high in acidity and low in alcohol. It has peppery notes of cherries, cranberries, and other crunchy red fruits. It can be chilled with a variety meats and cheeses.

La Antigua Clasico Reserva

This classic Rioja was created by Alberto Orte, a winemaker from northern Spain. It is a great example of what full-bodied, well-balanced red wines should be. This wine is made from fruit from the Sierra de la Demanda mountain range in the west, one of Rioja’s lesser-explored areas. This wine is made from 70% tempranillo and 20% Graciano organically grown grapes. It has a balanced, fresh flavor with aromas of red and dark fruit, tobacco, vanilla and a hint of smoke. The wine’s long-lasting finish is enhanced by warming notes of sweet baking spices and French oak (two years), It can be served chilled with stews and hearty meats.

Luis Seabra Vinhos Xisto Ilimitado Tinto

Luis Seabra, a former Niepoort winemaker is creating exciting wines in Portugal’s Douro Valley. His wines are low-intervention and have moderate alcohol. This is in contrast to the many fruit bombs that can be found in the area. Xisto Ilimitado, a field blend made from six varieties of grapes grown in three schist-based areas of the Douro. It is 100% whole cluster fermentation with natural yeasts. The wine was aged in neutral barrel for 12 months and tank for five months before being bottled. You can expect fresh, clean flavors such as cherry juice, white pepper, white pepper, and freshly chopped herbs.


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