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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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  • Anaba Turbine Red 2014
    Rhone Red Blends from Sonoma Valley, Sonoma County, California
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  • Roger Sabon Chateauneuf-du-Pape Les Secret des Sabon (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2015
    Rhone Red Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
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  • Roger Sabon Chateauneuf-du-Pape Les Secret des Sabon 2015
    Rhone Red Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
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  • Clos des Brusquieres Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2015
    Rhone Red Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
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  • Le Vieux Donjon Chateauneuf-du-Pape 1998
    Rhone Red Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
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  • Clos du Caillou Chateauneuf-du-Pape Reserve 2012
    Rhone Red Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
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  • Alban Pandora Grenache 2002
    Rhone Red Blends from Central Coast, California
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  • Clos du Mont Olivet Chateauneuf-du-Pape 1998
    Rhone Red Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
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  • Andre Brunel Chateauneuf-du-Pape Les Cailloux Centenaire 2005
    Rhone Red Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
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  • Paul Autard Cote Ronde Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2001
    Rhone Red Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
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  • Hewitson Miss Harry G.S.M. 2013
    Rhone Red Blends from Barossa Valley, Barossa, Australia
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  • Domaine de la Janasse Chateauneuf-du-Pape Vieilles Vignes 2014
    Rhone Red Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
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  • Bila-Haut by Michel Chapoutier Cotes du Roussillon Villages 2014
    Rhone Red Blends from Languedoc-Roussillon, France
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  • Roger Sabon Chateauneuf-du-Pape Les Secret des Sabon 2013
    Rhone Red Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
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  • The Withers Bel Canto GSM 2014
    Rhone Red Blends from El Dorado, Sierra Foothills, California
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  • Domaine Font de Michelle Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2011
    Rhone Red Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
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  • Chateau de Vaudieu Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2012
    Rhone Red Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
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  • M. Chapoutier Chateauneuf-du-Pape La Bernardine 2012
    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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  • Domaine de la Janasse Chateauneuf-du-Pape (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2011
    Rhone Red Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
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    • WS91
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  • Chateau de Vaudieu Val de Dieu Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2011
    Rhone Red Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
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  • Saint Cosme Gigondas le Poste 2014
    Rhone Red Blends from Gigondas, Rhone, France
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  • Saint Cosme Gigondas le Poste 2013
    Rhone Red Blends from Gigondas, Rhone, France
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  • Saint Cosme Gigondas le Claux 2013
    Rhone Red Blends from Gigondas, Rhone, France
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    • RP93
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  • Domaine de la Janasse Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2011
    Rhone Red Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
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