Right bank blends from Great Northwest

By on November 22, 2015
Washington Merlot can make a bold and delicious wine.

Harvested Merlot grapes wait to be crushed in September at a Washington winery. If a wine is referred to as “Right Bank” in style, that means the primary grape in the blend is Merlot or possibly Cabernet Franc. (Photo by Andy Perdue/Great Northwest Wine)

Last week, we wrote about Left Bank blends and provided reviews of more than a dozen examples from the Pacific Northwest – primarily Washington. This week, we go the opposite direction with Right Bank-style reds.

The Right and Left banks refer to regions within France’s Bordeaux area – in fact, home to some of France’s most famous wineries. A Left Bank blend typically leads with Cabernet Sauvignon, while a Right Bank blend normally is dominated with Merlot or Cabernet Franc.

Perhaps the most famous Right Bank wine in the world is Petrus, a red wine from Bordeaux’s Pomerol region. Many years, it is nearly 100 percent Merlot, though it might also include Cabernet Franc.

With Washington’s strength in Merlot, one would think Right Bank blends would be predominant. In fact, we see more Left Bank styles because Cabernet Sauvignon is king in Washington right now. In addition, many red blends from Washington also include Syrah, a grape that doesn’t figure into any Bordeaux wines because the grape is not grown there (it’s primarily found in the Rhône Valley).

Here are seven examples of Right Bank blends – six from Washington and one from British Columbia.

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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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