In the Old World, there are general rules. And sometimes specific rules.
For example, in Bordeaux, winemakers may use up to six different red grape varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Petit Verdot and Carménère. No Syrah, no Tempranillo, no Grenache, no Sangiovese.
In Chianti Classico, a Chianti isn’t a Chianti if it has Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon in it (then it’s a Super Tuscan).
Here in the New World, winemakers must abide by no such restrictions. A Cabernet Sauvignon may include Mourvèdre, Dolcetto, Montepulciano, Petite Sirah or anything else that the winemaker thinks will make it a better wine.
Of course, many winemakers stick by the Old World rules, particularly Bordeaux blends. You won’t find a bit of Syrah in these wines.
But it is their choice, not the law.
Here are a dozen delicious Washington red blends we’ve tasted in recent weeks.