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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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  • Domaine du Somail Minervos Vin de Plume 2015
    Rhone Red Blends from Minervois, Languedoc-Roussillon, France
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  • Robert Oatley Signature GSM 2015
    Rhone Red Blends from McLaren Vale, Australia
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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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  • Guigal Cotes du Rhone Rouge 2013
    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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  • Alain Jaume Cairanne Les Travees 2015
    Rhone Red Blends from Cotes du Rhone Villages, Rhone, France
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  • Viu Manent ViBo Punta del Viento 2013
    Rhone Red Blends from Chile
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  • Chateau de Segries Lirac Cuvee Reservee 2015
    Rhone Red Blends from Lirac, Rhone, France
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  • Domaine Lafage Tessellae Old Vines GSM 2014
    Rhone Red Blends from Languedoc-Roussillon, France
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  • Badenhorst Secateurs Red Blend 2015
    Rhone Red Blends from South Africa
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  • Enkidu E Cuvee JM 2015
    Rhone Red Blends from Sonoma County, California
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  • Yalumba The Strapper GSM Barossa 2013
    Rhone Red Blends from Barossa Valley, Barossa, Australia
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  • Domaine Grand Veneur Cotes du Rhone Les Champauvins 2015
    Rhone Red Blends from Cotes du Rhone, 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 le Couroulu Vacqueyras Cuvee Classique 2013
    Rhone Red Blends from Vacqueyras, Rhone, France
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  • Marietta Christo 2014
    Rhone Red Blends from North Coast, California
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  • Domaine de la Janasse Cotes du Rhone Reserve 2013
    Rhone Red Blends from Cotes du Rhone, Rhone, France
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  • Domaine de la Mordoree Cotes du Rhone la Dame Rousse Rouge 2015
    Rhone Red Blends from Cotes du Rhone, Rhone, France
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  • Saint Cosme Cotes du Rhone 2016
    Rhone Red Blends from Cotes du Rhone, Rhone, France
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  • Chateau Ollieux-Romanis Cuvee Classique Rouge 2016
    Rhone Red Blends from Languedoc-Roussillon, France
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  • Beckmen Cuvee Le Bec 2015
    Rhone Red Blends from Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Barbara, Central Coast, California
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  • La Ferme du Mont Premiere Cote 2014
    Rhone Red Blends from Cotes du Rhone, Rhone, France
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  • Chateau Puech-Haut Coteaux du Languedoc Prestige 2014
    Rhone Red Blends from Languedoc-Roussillon, France
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  • Chateau D'Angles La Clape Classique Red 2012
    Rhone Red Blends from La Clape, Languedoc-Roussillon, France
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  • Bila-Haut by Michel Chapoutier Cotes du Roussillon Villages 2016
    Rhone Red Blends from Languedoc-Roussillon, France
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