One reason that winemakers from Europe enjoy coming to the West Coast to make wine is freedom of expression.
Not just what they can say, but also what wine they can make. A winemaker in Alsace, for example, could never legally produce a Cabernet Sauvignon – or any other red wine that isn’t Pinot Noir. So when winemakers from regions arrive in the New World and are able to expand their thinking beyond the traditional, a lot of fun can happen.
But this isn’t just for winemakers steeped in tradition. Here in the Pacific Northwest, winemakers are crafting delicious red blends that include both traditional grapes for such styles as those found in Bordeaux or the Rhône Valley, for example, but also intermingling the two regions or even tossing in varieties from Spain or Italy.
It’s a potpourri, and it makes for exciting, delicious wines.
Here are a dozen red blends from Washington and Oregon we’ve tasted in recent weeks and can heartily recommend.