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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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  • Barossa Valley Estate GSM 2015
    Rhone Red Blends from Barossa Valley, Barossa, Australia
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    • Ventana Rubystone Red 2014
      Rhone Red Blends from Arroyo Seco, Monterey, Central Coast, California
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    • Gerard Bertrand Minervois 2012
      Rhone Red Blends from Minervois, Languedoc-Roussillon, France
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      • Cline Cashmere Black Magic 2015
        Rhone Red Blends from California
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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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        • Chateau d'Aussieres Blason d'Aussieres Corbieres 2008
          Rhone Red Blends from Corbieres, Languedoc-Roussillon, France
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          • M. Chapoutier Cotes du Rhone Belleruche Rouge 2015
            Rhone Red Blends from Cotes du Rhone, Rhone, France
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            • Front Porch Farm Red 2013
              Rhone Red Blends from Russian River, Sonoma County, California
              • WW89
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            • Arnoux et Fils Vacqueyras Seigneur de Lauris 2012
              Rhone Red Blends from Vacqueyras, Rhone, France
              • RP90
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            • Louis Bernard Plan de Dieu Cotes du Rhone Domaine Pere Hugues 2015
              Rhone Red Blends from Cotes du Rhone Villages, Rhone, France
              • WE89
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            • Goats do Roam Red 2015
              Rhone Red Blends from South Africa
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              • Robert Oatley Signature GSM 2015
                Rhone Red Blends from McLaren Vale, Australia
                • RP90
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              • Domaine du Somail Minervos Vin de Plume 2015
                Rhone Red Blends from Minervois, Languedoc-Roussillon, France
                • RP91
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              • Michel Gassier Costieres de Nimes Nostre Pais Red 2013
                Rhone Red Blends from Costieres de Nimes, Rhone, France
                • RP92
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              • Guigal Cotes du Rhone Rouge 2013
                Rhone Red Blends from Cotes du Rhone, Rhone, France
                • RP91
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              • Chateau de Segries Cotes du Rhone 2015
                Rhone Red Blends from Cotes du Rhone, Rhone, France
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                • Clos Bellane Cotes du Rhone Villages Valreas Rouge 2015
                  Rhone Red Blends from Cotes du Rhone Villages, Rhone, France
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                • Epiphany Gypsy 2013
                  Rhone Red Blends from Santa Barbara, Central Coast, California
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                • Alain Jaume Cairanne Les Travees 2015
                  Rhone Red Blends from Cotes du Rhone Villages, Rhone, France
                  • RP92
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                • Chateau Pesquie Quintessence 2013
                  Rhone Red Blends from Cotes du Ventoux, Rhone, France
                  • WS90
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                • MooBuzz Grenache Syrah Mourvedre 2015
                  Rhone Red Blends from Central Coast, California
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                • Can Blau Celler Can Blau 2014
                  Rhone Red Blends from Montsant, Spain
                  • V91
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                • Domaine La Garrigue Vacqueyras 2011
                  Rhone Red Blends from Vacqueyras, Rhone, France
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                  • Domaine Chaume-Arnaud Cotes du Rhone 2012
                    Rhone Red Blends from Cotes du Rhone, Rhone, France
                    • RP89
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                  • Gerard Bertrand Minervois 2013
                    Rhone Red Blends from Minervois, Languedoc-Roussillon, France
                    • W&S92
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