Blends are among the most loved, but misunderstood categories in wine these days. The modern era of shopping for wines by varietal is a very recent concept. For most of wine history a bottle was a representation of the vineyard where nearly all of the grapes went into the wine regardless of varietal. Even California came to be known for its field blends. A vineyard might be planted with one grape varietal, but if a vine died they would replant it with whatever they had around. This process overtime made most vineyards an incredible mix of different grapes.
New blends in the market over the past 20 years have truly redefined the style to many as a semi-sweet, smooth and jammy red (Apotic Red has 40g/L of sugar!). In reality the best thing about blends is how diverse they can be. They can utilize the absolute best of each varietal and bring them together to make a very unique style. This means that if you want to find a new blend you like it is time to taste! We are featuring four new recent releases that continue to show a wide range of this category.
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2017 Rodney Strong Upshot White Blend – California; $19.99
California white blends continue to be one of the most overlooked wine categories. Just like red blends they can use a wide variety of grapes each bringing unique aromas, flavors, structure, acidity, and sweetness to the wine. Not only does this wine use a variety of grapes, but they work with fruit from multiple different growing regions of California; Sonoma County, Monterey County and Mendocino County. This wine is bursting with aromas of white peach, apricot and jasmine blossom with flavors of melon and peach with a crisp, fresh acidity and a minerality through the finish. - $1.50 Sample
2016 emBRAZEN Red Blend – California; $12.99
The emBRAZEN wine series features powerful women in history that truly deserve more recognition. Each wine release depicts the story of one of these women. This Red Blend focuses on Josephine Baker an African American showgirl in the 1920s that made a name for herself in the start of the Civil Rights movement refusing to perform for segregated audiences. She then joined the military during World War II, moving to France to work as a spy feeding information to the French Resistance.
I was definitely moved by the inspiration for these wines, but the wine itself also delivered. The blend is a definite kitchen sink style. Based around the major Bordeaux varietals, this blend features seven different grapes that come together to make a fruit forward and silky wine. - $1.00 Sample
2017 Dona Paula Smoked Red Blend – Mendoza, Argentina; $15.99
Dona Pauia has always been a crowd pleaser with their rich Malbecs. They are an incredible winery that works nearly exclusively with all estate grown fruit. “Smoked” is a completely estate grown blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, and a lesser known South American varietal, Bonarda. This wine was inspired by traditional Argentinean barbecue. They actually treat the French barrels they use with a smoking process to add more of that quality to the wine. After a year of aging in these barrels the wine shows a lot of spice, creamy vanilla and a delicate smokiness. - $1.50 Sample
2016 Beringer Brothers Bourbon Barrel Aged Red Blend – California; $14.99
I'm not sure there is much to say about Beringer. They are probably one of the most recognizable California wineries. The Beringer Brothers series is one of their newest. The Red Blend is aged in fresh bourbon barrels for sixty days before being bottled. The blend here is mainly dark, “black” varietals like Petite Sirah, Syrah and Petit Verdot. It is rounded out with smaller amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and trace amounts of other varietals. This is good… One of the more balanced bourbon barrel aged wines.
“This wine is bursting with aromas of ripe blackberries, roasted hazelnuts, and caramel. With intense concentration bolstered by Petit Verdot, this full-bodied wine has a creamy mouthfeel with ripe tannins and integrated acidity. The lingering finish boasts notes of toasted coconut, violet, and black cherry.” - $1.00 Sample