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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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  • Roger Sabon Chateauneuf-du-Pape Reserve 2015
    Rhone Red Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
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  • Domaine de la Vieille Julienne Chateauneuf-du-Pape Les Trois Sources 2010
    Rhone Red Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
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  • Chateau de Beaucastel Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2014
    Rhone Red Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
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  • Guigal Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2010
    Rhone Red Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
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  • Guigal Cotes du Rhone Rouge 2013
    Rhone Red Blends from Cotes du Rhone, Rhone, France
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  • Domaine de la Vieille Julienne Chateauneuf-du-Pape Les Hauts-Lieux 2012
    Rhone Red Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
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  • Domaine de la Vieille Julienne Chateauneuf-du-Pape Les Trois Sources 2012
    Rhone Red Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
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  • Domaine de la Vieille Julienne Chateauneuf-du-Pape Les Hauts-Lieux 2010
    Rhone Red Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
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  • Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe Chateauneuf-du-Pape La Crau (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2013
    Rhone Red Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
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  • Domaine de la Vieille Julienne Chateauneuf-du-Pape Cuvee Reserve 2012
    Rhone Red Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
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  • Paul Autard Cote Ronde Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2015
    Rhone Red Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
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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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  • Vidal-Fleury Cotes du Rhone 2013
    Rhone Red Blends from Cotes du Rhone, Rhone, France
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  • Fess Parker The Big Easy 2014
    Rhone Red Blends from Santa Barbara, Central Coast, California
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  • Domaine de Fondreche Cotes du Ventoux Il Etait Une Fois 2015
    Rhone Red Blends from Cotes du Ventoux, Rhone, France
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  • Domaine de la Mordoree Chateauneuf-du-Pape La Reine des Bois 2015
    Rhone Red Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
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  • Domaine de Cristia Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2015
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  • Domaine de Fondreche Cotes du Ventoux 2015
    Rhone Red Blends from Cotes du Ventoux, Rhone, France
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  • Tenshen Red 2015
    Rhone Red Blends from Santa Barbara, Central Coast, California
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  • Plateau de Chenes Lirac Rouge 2013
    Rhone Red Blends from Lirac, Rhone, France
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  • Roger Sabon Chateauneuf-du-Pape Prestige 2015
    Rhone Red Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
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  • Michel Gassier Costieres de Nimes Nostre Pais Red 2013
    Rhone Red Blends from Costieres de Nimes, Rhone, France
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  • Roger Sabon Chateauneuf-du-Pape Les Olivets 2015
    Rhone Red Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
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  • Louis Bernard Cotes du Rhone Villages 2012
    Rhone Red Blends from Cotes du Rhone Villages, Rhone, France
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  • Domaine Saint Prefert Isabel Ferrando Chateauneuf-du-Pape Colombis 2014
    Rhone Red Blends from Rhone, France
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