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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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  • Plateau de Chenes Lirac Rouge 2013
    Rhone Red Blends from Lirac, Rhone, France
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  • Chateau d'Aussieres Corbieres 2013
    Rhone Red Blends from Corbieres, Languedoc-Roussillon, France
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  • Arnoux et Fils Vacqueyras Seigneur de Lauris 2012
    Rhone Red Blends from Vacqueyras, Rhone, France
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  • Guigal Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2010
    Rhone Red Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
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  • Domaine du Somail Minervos Vin de Plume 2015
    Rhone Red Blends from Minervois, Languedoc-Roussillon, France
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  • Alain Jaume Cairanne Les Travees 2015
    Rhone Red Blends from Cotes du Rhone Villages, Rhone, France
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  • Alain Jaume Grande Garrigue Vacqueyras 2015
    Rhone Red Blends from Vacqueyras, Rhone, France
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  • Domaine Saint Prefert Chateauneuf-du-Pape Reserve Auguste Favier 2014
    Rhone Red Blends from Rhone, France
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  • Yangarra Estate GSM 2015
    Rhone Red Blends from McLaren Vale, Australia
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  • Chateau Pesquie Artemia Rouge 2012
    Rhone Red Blends from Cotes du Ventoux, Rhone, France
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  • Gerard Bertrand Grand Terroir Les Aspres 2013
    Rhone Red Blends from Languedoc-Roussillon, 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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  • Saint Cosme Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2012
    Rhone Red Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
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  • Domaine du Pegau Chateauneuf-du-Pape Cuvee Reservee 2013
    Rhone Red Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
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  • Yalumba The Strapper GSM Barossa 2013
    Rhone Red Blends from Barossa Valley, Barossa, Australia
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  • Alain Jaume Domaine du Clos de Sixte Lirac 2014
    Rhone Red Blends from Lirac, Rhone, France
    • RP90
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  • Domaine les Pallieres Gigondas Terrasse du Diable 2014
    Rhone Red Blends from Gigondas, Rhone, France
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  • Alain Jaume Rasteau Les Valats 2015
    Rhone Red Blends from Rasteau, Rhone, France
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  • Domaine Grand Veneur Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2012
    Rhone Red Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
    • RP91
    • W&S90
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  • Clos Saint-Jean Sanctus Sanctorum (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2009
    Rhone Red Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
    • RP100
    • V95
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  • Alain Jaume Ventoux Les Gelinottes 2015
    Rhone Red Blends from Rhone, France
    • RP89
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  • Mas de Bressades Cuvee Tradition Syrah/Grenache 2015
    Rhone Red Blends from Costieres de Nimes, Rhone, France
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  • Domaine de la Janasse Chateauneuf-du-Pape Cuvee Chaupin 2010
    Rhone Red Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
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  • Chateau de Beaucastel Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2007
    Rhone Red Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
    • WS96
    • RP96
    • W&S94
    • WE93
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  • Domaine Grand Veneur Chateauneuf-du-Pape Vieilles Vignes 2015
    Rhone Red Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
    • RP98
    • V94
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