Wine & Ratings

Red Blends

About Red Blends

Red blend is a label designation for red wines that contain more than one grape variety in the final cuvée. These wines can be made following well-loved traditional formulas, but this category contains a wide range of combinations.

Red blend wines vary in color, aroma, flavor, structure and ageability. Red blends from cool climates tend to be light and bright, while those from warm climates tend to be bold and dark. The varieties used, the region where they were grown, the season, as well as winemaker decisions, all play an essential role in how a red blend will taste.

Typically, red blends are created by individually crushing and fermenting each grape variety. After the juice is extracted from the skins and put into lots, the blend is created.

Bordeaux

Bordeaux is most known for its structured red wines made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and, to a lesser extent, Carmenère and Malbec. In the vineyards of the Médoc, also known as the Left Bank, Cabernet Sauvignon is the dominant grape, while in the Right Bank, Merlot and Cabernet Franc are the key components in the final cuvée.

Bordeaux red grapes are grown all over the world and incorporated into wines that emulate this regional blend, known as Bordeaux-style red blends. In the U.S., the trademarked label designation called Meritage denotes a red wine made from Bordeaux grapes from a member winery of the Meritage Alliance.

Rhône Valley

This Southern French region comprises many storied appellations that take their name from communes along the Rhône river. Red wines from the Southern Rhône Valley are typically blends of Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Cinsault, Carignan and Counoise, though there are many other approved regional varieties. The regional blends of the Rhône are replicated throughout the world and are often referred to as Rhône-style red blends.

Portugal

Portuguese red wines are made in various styles, from many indigenous and international grape varieties. Some of the most important regions in Portugal include Alentejo, Bairrada, Dão and the Douro Valley.

There are at least 248 indigenous grape varieties in Portugal. Red grapes account for about two-thirds of all grapes cultivated in Portugal, though many are destined for use in fortified Port wines. Among the native red-grape varieties, Touriga Nacional is perhaps the best known. Others include Tinta Roriz (better known as Tempranillo), Touriga Franca, Baga, Trincadeira and Alicante Bouschet.

International grape varieties are increasingly cultivated, too. Among the most common are Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Syrah.

Global Production

Red blends are produced in many wine regions across the world. California, Washington, Chile, Argentina, Australia and beyond all produce a wild array of red blends. Some stick close to traditional Bordeaux or Rhône styles, while others cross regional boundaries by blending, like Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah blends from Australia’s Barossa Valley. See below for our latest reviews of red blends from across the globe.

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