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Rhône Blends

With bold fruit flavors and accents of spice...

With bold fruit flavors and accents of spice, Rhône red blends originated in France’s Southern Rhône valley and have become popular in Priorat, Washington, South Australia, and California’s Central Coast. In the Rhône itself, 19 grape varieties are permitted for use, but many of these blends, are based on Grenache and supported by Syrah and Mourvèdre, earning the nickname “GSM blends.” Côtes du Rhône and Châteauneuf-du-Pape are perhaps the best-known outposts for these wines. Other varieties that may be found in Rhône blends include Carignan, Cinsault, and Counoise.

In the Glass

The taste profile of a Rhône blend will vary according to its individual components, as each variety brings something different to the glass. Grenache, which often forms the base of these blends, is the lightest in color but contributes plenty of ripe red fruit, a plush texture, and often high levels of alcohol. Syrah supplies darker fruit flavors, along with savory, spicy, and meaty notes. Mourvèdre is responsible for a floral perfume as well as body, tannin, and a healthy dose of color. New World examples will lie further along the fruit-forward end of the spectrum, while those from the Old World taste and smell much earthier, often with a “barnyard” character that is attractive to many fans of these wines.

Perfect Pairings

Rhône red blends typically make for very food-friendly wines. Depending on the weight and alcohol level, these can work with a wide variety of meat-based dishes—they play equally well with beef, pork, duck, lamb, or game. With their high acidity, these wines are best-matched with salty or fatty foods, and can handle the acidity of tomato sauce in pizza or pasta. Braised beef cheeks, grilled lamb sausages, or roasted squab are all fine pairings.

Sommelier Secret

Some regions like to put their own local spin on the Rhône red blend—for example, in Australia’s Barossa Valley, Shiraz is commonly blended with Cabernet Sauvignon to add structure, tannin, and a long finish. Grenache-based blends from Priorat often include Carignan (known locally as Cariñena) and Syrah, but also international varieties like Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. In California, anything goes, and it is not uncommon to see Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, or even Tempranillo make an appearance.

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    Bodegas Mas Alta La Creu Alta 2012
    Rhone Red Blends from Priorat, Spain
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    3.8 8 Ratings
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    Arnoux et Fils Ventoux Vieux Clocher 2014
    Rhone Red Blends from Cotes du Ventoux, Rhone, France
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      Domaine Le Clos des Lumieres Cotes du Rhone Villages 2016
      Rhone Red Blends from Cotes du Rhone Villages, Rhone, France
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        Chateau Puech-Haut La Closerie du Pic 2014
        Rhone Red Blends from Languedoc-Roussillon, France
        • RP94
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        Arnoux et Fils Chateauneuf-du-Pape Vieux Clocher 2013
        Rhone Red Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
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          Alban Pandora 2013
          Rhone Red Blends from Edna Valley, Central Coast, California
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          Domaine Pierre Usseglio et Fils Chateauneuf-du-Pape Mon Aieul 2001
          Rhone Red Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
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          Domaine De La Verde Vacqueyras Ora 2015
          Rhone Red Blends from Vacqueyras, Rhone, France
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          Jean-Luc Colombo Cotes du Rhone Les Abeilles 2016
          Rhone Red Blends from Cotes du Rhone, Rhone, France
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            Cline Cashmere Red 2016
            Rhone Red Blends from California
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              Domaine de Piaugier Rouge 2015
              Rhone Red Blends from Cotes du Rhone Villages, Rhone, France
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                Arnoux et Fils Seigneurs de Lauris Cotes Du Rhone 2014
                Rhone Red Blends from Cotes du Rhone, Rhone, France
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                  M. Chapoutier Chateauneuf-du-Pape Croix de Bois (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2012
                  Rhone Red Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
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                  Saxum Broken Stones 2013
                  Rhone Red Blends from Paso Robles, Central Coast, California
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                  Louis Bernard Cotes du Rhone Villages 2015
                  Rhone Red Blends from Cotes du Rhone Villages, Rhone, France
                  • RP90
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                  Domaine de Beaurenard Cuvee Boisrenard Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2001
                  Rhone Red Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
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                  Roger Sabon Rhone By Roger Sabon 2016
                  Rhone Red Blends from Rhone, France
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                  Chateau de Vaudieu Val de Dieu Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2012
                  Rhone Red Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
                  • RP95
                  • WS94
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                  Fausse Piste Super MSG! 2016
                  Rhone Red Blends from Yakima Valley, Columbia Valley, Washington
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                    Famille Perrin Chateauneuf-du-Pape Les Chapouins Vieilles Vignes 2006
                    Rhone Red Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
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                    Booker Vineyard Vertigo 2015
                    Rhone Red Blends from Paso Robles, Central Coast, California
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                    Domaine de Cristia Chateauneuf-du-Pape Vieilles Vignes 2015
                    Rhone Red Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
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                    Clos du Caillou Chateauneuf-du-Pape Reserve 2012
                    Rhone Red Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
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                    Notre Dame des Pallieres Gigondas Les Mourres 2014
                    Rhone Red Blends from Gigondas, Rhone, France
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                      Domaine Charbonniere Chateauneuf-du-Pape Mourre des Perdrix 2013
                      Rhone Red Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
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