Grapes often work better together.
The French, particularly in Bordeaux and the Rhône Valley, have known that for decades – even centuries. In the Pacific Northwest, particularly Washington, wineries have been moving toward more red blends for the past 20 years.
Now, it might just be the largest category of wines. Certainly, we see more red blends than any other style of wine.
The pessimist might say that a lot of red blends include Syrah because that’s often the easiest way to sell the grape – by hiding it. However, our perception has been that a modest percentage of Syrah fills in the midpalate of many red wines, creating a juicy jamminess that enriches the wine in a tangible way.
These days, we see all kinds of red blends, including traditional Bordeaux reds, Southern Rhône wines with Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre, Super Tuscan styles with Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon – and everything in between. Indeed, it’s a lot of fun to explore various kinds of red blends to figure out what the winemaker had in mind.
Here are 11 red blends from wineries in Washington, Oregon and Idaho that we’ve tasted in recent weeks.