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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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  • Jeff Carrel Languedoc Les Darons 2015
    Rhone Red Blends from Languedoc-Roussillon, France
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    • Famille Perrin Les Christins Vacqueyras 2015
      Rhone Red Blends from Vacqueyras, Rhone, France
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      • Domaine Santa Duc Les Blovac Rasteau 2014
        Rhone Red Blends from Rasteau, Rhone, France
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        • Domaine Santa Duc Les Aubes Vacqueyras 2015
          Rhone Red Blends from Vacqueyras, Rhone, France
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        • Ochota Barrels The Green Room Grenache Noir Syrah 2017
          Rhone Red Blends from Australia
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          • WS90
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        • Domaine Santa Duc Cotes du Rhone Les Vieilles Vignes 2015
          Rhone Red Blends from Cotes du Rhone, Rhone, France
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          • Domaine Santa Duc Aux Lieux Dits Gigondas 2015
            Rhone Red Blends from Gigondas, Rhone, France
            • JS93
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          • Tablas Creek Cotes de Tablas Rouge 2016
            Rhone Red Blends from Adelaida District, Paso Robles, Central Coast, California
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            • Front Porch Farm Red 2014
              Rhone Red Blends from Russian River, Sonoma County, California
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              • Martin Codax Ergo Rojo 2015
                Rhone Red Blends from Rioja, Spain
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                • Ogier Heritages Cotes du Rhone Rouge 2016
                  Rhone Red Blends from Cotes du Rhone, Rhone, France
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                  • Clefs des Murailles Vacqueyras 2016
                    Rhone Red Blends from Vacqueyras, Rhone, France
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                    • Lavau Gigondas 2014
                      Rhone Red Blends from Gigondas, Rhone, France
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                    • Lavau Rasteau 2015
                      Rhone Red Blends from Rasteau, Rhone, France
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                    • Chateau Ste. Eulalie Minervois Plaisir d'Eulalie 2016
                      Rhone Red Blends from Minervois, Languedoc-Roussillon, France
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                      • Lavau Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2014
                        Rhone Red Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
                        • WS91
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                      • Pax The Vicar 2015
                        Rhone Red Blends from North Coast, California
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                        • Chateau Maris Minervois Rouge 2016
                          Rhone Red Blends from Minervois, Languedoc-Roussillon, France
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                          • Domaine du Gour de Chaule Gigondas Cuvee Tradition 2014
                            Rhone Red Blends from Gigondas, Rhone, France
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                            • Elyse C'est Si Bon Naggiar Vineyard 2014
                              Rhone Red Blends from Sierra Foothills, California
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                              • Domaine du Pere Caboche Cotes du Rhone 2016
                                Rhone Red Blends from Cotes du Rhone, Rhone, France
                                • JS90
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                              • Chateau Saint-Cyrgues Costieres de Nimes Rouge 2017
                                Rhone Red Blends from Costieres de Nimes, Rhone, France
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                                • Domaine les Pallieres Gigondas Les Racines (375ML half-bottle) 2015
                                  Rhone Red Blends from Gigondas, Rhone, France
                                  • JS94
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                                  • RP91
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                                • Clovis Cotes du Rhone 2016
                                  Rhone Red Blends from Cotes du Rhone, Rhone, France
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                                  • Domaine de Montvac Vacqueyras Arabesque 2014
                                    Rhone Red Blends from Vacqueyras, Rhone, France
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