In America, we often purchase wine by the grape (Merlot, Chardonnay, etc.) but there are many wines not labeled as a single grape…these are called blends.
In the Unites States, a blend is any wine consisting of two or more grapes with less than 75% of each grape. For example, a wine with 55% Cabernet Sauvignon and 45% Merlot is considered a blend. Many blends have 3, 5, even 13 different grapes.
Our blends in the U.S. have origins back to Europe. Let’s take a look at some of these and set you up nicely for your next trip to the wine store:
A red blend generally consists of 5 grapes. They are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. Often you will see wines with the first three grapes in any order. Spring Valley Vineyard in Walla Walla produces “Uriah” that is a Merlot predominant Bordeaux blend.
A white blend generally consists of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. DeLille Cellars produces a 95 point representation called “Chaleur Estate Blanc.”
SOUTHERN RHONE BLEND ~
A red blend generally consists of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvédre (commonly referred to as GSM). The famous Chateauneuf-du-Pape wine from this region consists of a whopping 13 grapes! Rôtie Cellars produces an excellent representation of a GSM with their “Southern Blend.”
A white blend that is easily accessible is Viognier rounded out with any combination of Rousanne, Marsanne, and/or Ugni Blanc. Yakima Valley’s Airfield Estates prouduces “Lightening White” consisting of Viognier, Rousanne and a small amount of Marsanne.
CHIANTI or SUPER TUSCAN BLEND ~
Generally speaking Chianti consists predominantly Sangiovese with a couple other (sometimes white) grapes. A Super Tuscan is a red wine that can be 100% Cabernet Sauvignon as it started but now-a-days is often seen as a blend using Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese, Cabernet Franc and other obscure grapes. Brian Carter Cellars produces “Tuttorosso” which is a blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.
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