The Benefits of the Blend
Reds made with a blend of grapes, like Bordeaux, are some of the most highly regarded, brilliant and expensive wines in the world, much greater than the sum of their parts. But not all red blends are pricey; even in Bordeaux, winemakers are producing terrific bottles that express terroir for under $20. Most recently, winemakers around the world, like Ménage à Trois in California and Veramonte in Chile, have created a superpopular new category simply labeled “red blend,” made with unidentified grapes from unspecified regions. This might seem mysterious, but it helps wineries keep prices lower by letting them source fruit from wherever it’s cheap and good.
World's Most Famous Red Blends
The blending perfected in the regions below is winemaking at its best.
Winemakers in this southern Rhône region of France use up to 13 different grape varieties in their famously dense and spicy wines.
By blending Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon with varying amounts of Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, winemakers create serious reds that age well. Wines termed "Claret" will exhibit similar blending techniques.
Invented in the 1970s, Super-Tuscans can be made with international grape varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot. They tend to be massive wines.
4. Napa Valley
Inspired by Bordeaux blends, Napa Valley winemakers have been adding small amounts of other grapes (like Merlot) to their Cabernets since the late 1960s.
Bottles to Try
Terrific red blends with great terroir.
Conundrum Red is quite the quandary; almost floral on the nose with velvety chocolate flavors and silky smooth tannins that add richness and complexity. Conundrum Red is a non-traditional blend of California red grapes. What ... more
Full-bodied and dense with silky tannin as well as a lush texture, this is the quintessential bistro, brasserie, or trattoria red to drink with gusto, exuberance, and joy. more
NC is a wine with a decisive, full-bodied character, smooth tannins and a persistent finish. This blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah andSangiovese reveals an exciting potency, with the innate gentleness of Merlot creating a ... more
Chateau St. Julian's vines are grown on clay-limestone with an average age of 30 years. The wine is a blend of 60% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Cabernet Franc. Aged for 12 months in oak, ... more