Red blends are big winners in Pacific Northwest

By on March 2, 2014
Red blends are an important category in Washington state and the Pacific Northwest.

Red blends are among the most important wines being made today in the Pacific Northwest, particularly in Washington state. (Photo by Andy Perdue/Great Northwest Wine)

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.

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About Great Northwest Wine

Articles authored by Great Northwest Wine are co-authored by Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue. In most cases, these are wine reviews that are judged blind by the Great Northwest Wine tasting panel.

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