Wine is quite an interesting concept and beverage to think of if you really think about it deeply. It is quite crazy to imagine that a various grapes growing naturally in a vineyard can produce such a wide variety of flavors in wine. Wine is truly the most complex and amazing beverage out there. Complex because the profiles and characteristics that make up wine are so plentiful and different. Amazing because there is literally so many aromas and flavors that you can expect from wine that it truly can become a drink catered to your very own individual taste and preferences. If you are a wine connoisseur or are trying to get started with wine then this article can definitely help clarify the popular wine blends that people tend to purchase. Do be aware that this article will not cover all wine blends (there are a ton and I truly mean that), but this article will aim to go over the most popular wine blends among consumers and the myriad of flavors and aromas that each wine blend produces.
What is a Wine Blend?
If you are not fully knowledgeable on what a wine blend is then I think it would do you some good to understand what exactly I mean when I say wine blend. For starters let us not get confused with wine blends and wine varietals for those are two very different things. Varietals are wines that are made from a single grape. It is common for some winemakers to use grapes from a different region or vineyard, but nonetheless if the wine is made entirely or mostly of one type of grape then it is known as a varietal. In the United States any wine that is made up of at least 75% of one type of grape is known as single varietal. In other countries the percentage may differ. Now a blend on the other hand is what it sounds like. A wine blend is a wine that normally consists of about 40-50% of one single type of grape and a smaller mix of two or more other kinds of grapes.
How and Why Do People Blend Wines?
The art of wine blending is purely for the purpose of creating a more complex and flavorful wine profile for people to enjoy. Wine blending (when done right) can enhance the aromas, texture, body, finish, and color of the wine. If a winemaker notices that a particular type of grape produces a wine that is a bit lacking in one area than the winemaker can incorporate other types of grapes within the wine to make the characteristics of the wine stronger and more appealing. Winemakers start to build a map. They map out what kind of grapes they produce and the variety of aromas and flavors each grape produces so that they can figure out which grapes would go well together and which grapes would not blend well with one another. To experiment on their theories of which grapes they think will work well, winemakers bring out the pipettes and graduated cylinders, spending time mixing so many kinds of grapes together until they feel as if they have hit the jackpot. They start with a base blend which is essentially the foundation of the wine. They first start out with blending larger percentages of wines first and then gradually decreasing the percentages of wine grapes that they add as they go. It may seem almost pointless to tweak a wine by adding in 1- 2 % of a different wine grape, but winemakers vouch for the difference it can make. If you use the right wine grape, then just 1-2% of that wine grape can create a drastic difference in the taste of the wine. A lot of grapes are known to work well for wine blending. But there are also a handful of grapes that are commonly known for being single varietal grapes that should never be mixed with other grapes. For example, the Pinot Noir grape is rarely ever blended with any other type of grape so if you ever end up drinking a Burgundy, then most likely it will be made up of 100% Pinot Noir grapes.
Popular Wine Blends
The red bordeaux wine blend is a blend that is typically made up of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Malbec. This wine blend is known for being a medium-full bodied wine with notes of smoke, plum, black currant, tobacco and graphite. The cabernet sauvignon is known to bring a wonderful intensity, power and weight to the red bordeaux wine blend. It has a broad-shouldered wine flavor with a strong intensity in tannins. With the Cabernet Sauvignon incorporated one can expect the flavors of black cherry, currant, and herb aromas and flavors to shine through. By incorporating the Merlot to the red bordeaux wine blend, the blend takes on a mid-palate tannin intensity that creates aromas and flavors of raspberries, chocolate, and cherries. The malbec wine can bring forward a dark fruit, fruit forward flavor within the blend while the Petit Verdot can work to bring in the acidity and tannin aspect to the wine. The wine has a lot of ripe sweet flavors with very distinguishable structure once it hits the palate. When you combine all these flavors, tannins, and acidity together, you create a truly wonderful, complex, and unique wine blend that is an instant hit among so many different people!
The white bordeaux wine blend is one that is typically made up of a variety of white wines such as Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, and Muscadelle. It is known to be zesty with a light colored white wine body. The flavors it tends to produce are gooseberry and melon. It is also infamous for possessing a creamy texture to it.
Now this wine is one of the ultimate wine blends! It features a variety of so many different red wine grapes along with a few white wines thrown in there! It hales from the Rhone region of France and typically consists of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, Bourboulenc, Cinsault, Clairette Blanche, Counoise, Grenache Blanc, Muscardin, Picardan, Piquepoul Blanc, Roussanne, Terret Noir, and Vaccarese (now that’s what I call a blend!) The Grenache works to bring a bright red color to the wine and offers flavors of strawberries and cherries. It is rich and works very well on the mid-palate. Depending on the vintage the wine can be either savory or spicy. In terms of the Syrah, the syrah aspect of this wine blend works to bring a broad spectrum of aromas. It can encompass aromas and flavors that are similar to raspberry, blueberry, and blackberry while also encompassing more odd flavors such as smoked meat or olive! The mourvedre aspect of the wine works to give the wine its leather and pepper flavor, the carignan offers an herby and spicy flavor, while the Cinsault is known to bring a light feeling on the palate, but strong intensity on the flavor. This beautiful, layered, and complex wine consists of a medium body red color and notes of raspberry, leather, faded rose, and maraschino cherry.
The wine blend that comes from Cava Spain is called the Cava and is a very popular and delicious wine blend to consider. The main components of the Cava wine blend include Xarello, Parellada, Chardonnay, and Macabeu. Upon these different wine grape blends mixing together the Cava wine is known to be sort of sparkling wine blend that carries notes of white peach, lemon, and granite.
This red wine blend hails from Tuscany, Italy and is a full-bodied red with notes of clove, leather, and blueberry. It is composed of wine grapes such as Sangiovese, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc.
The Rioja wine blend comes straight from the region of Rioja, Spain. The main component of the wine blend is the grape Tempranillo which has been cultivated in Spain for over 2,000 years. It is a red blend grape that is typically mixed with other grapes such as Graciano, Mazuelo, and Garnacho. This wine blend is known to be strong in flavor with notes of fruit and floral as well. It is best accompanied by red meat, strong cheeses, or any strong-tasting flavor in general that can help stand up to this already powerful wine blend.
The port wine blend is one of the classics when it comes to dessert wine. It is mixed with blends of several other grapes that come from Portuguese grape varieties with the most popular grape varieties being Tinta Barroca and Touriga Franca. These grape varieties along with the others, produce a flavor that is rich, fruity, and warm. You can expect flavors like strawberry, cinnamon, clove, raspberry, caramel, and chocolate to really reign through in flavor with this wine! Some port wines can be drunk at a young age while others can provide exceptional tastes from age 4 to 60 years!
This wine blend hails from Italy and is made in the Chianti region of Tuscany, it typically consists of predominantly the Sangiovese grape (makes up about 90% of the wine) and other local red and white wine grapes such as Canaiolo Nero or Trebbiano. It is known to be very bold in flavor with fruity flavors like plum and cherry showing through as well as dark flavors like coffee and almonds. You can pair this delicious wine blend up with red meat, poultry, or pasta for an enhanced dinner experience!
The Meritage wine blend is actually a blend of words such as merit and heritage. It was actually a blend of wine that was meant to reproduce that of the Bordeaux style blend of wine, but all the grapes used did not originate from Bordeaux. Due to this, the wine blend was coined a different name instead. Yet, despite this the wine still holds similarities to its French counterpart. For example, the vintner has to produce 25,000 cases or less of Meritage wine per year (vintage), it must be considered one of the wineries higher quality of wine, and the wineries have to approved by the Meritage Association in order for the name to be used on the label. Other than the fact that the Meritage wine blend does not consist of any ingredients that come from Bordeaux it still uses the same style of grapes and technique as the Bordeaux wine blends.
The amarone wine blend is truly a very interesting wine blend as well. It comes from the Veneto region of Italy. It is a medium to full bodied red wine with very bold tannins and notes of dried cranberry, clove, sweet tobacco, leather, and notes of fig. The wine tends to encompass wine grapes like Rondinella, Molinara, Corvina, and a myriad of other wine varieties that are indigenous to Italy.
White Rhone Blend
The white rhone blend is a full-bodied white wine with notes of apples, parmesan cheese, cream, and lemon. This type of blend is known to come from either France of the United States and encompasses wine blends such as Marsanne, Roussanne, Grenache Blanc, Clairette, Viognier, and Bourboulenc.
The list of wine blends that I have talked about are barely the surface of all the wine blends that are produced and sold around the world. Hopefully thought the descriptions of the wine have peaked your interest with wine blends. Wine blends are truly a beautiful and complex science that produces a broad spectrum of flavors and aromas that make it so enigmatic and unique from many other beverages that exist out there. It is probably what makes wine so popular among practically everyone! If you are a wine pro or someone who is unsure about getting on the bandwagon with wine, then surely you should give these wine blends a try. They are surely something that will not disappoint you and the best part is that there are so many blends out there that with the right research and understanding of each kind of blend, I am 100% positive that you can find the wine that suits you so well. It is best to remember that there is a wine out there for everyone and I really do mean everyone. You are no exception. Just research and get to experimenting!