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Bordeaux Blends

One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine ...

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One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World, especially in California, Washington and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde River, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.

In the Glass

Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines modeled after the Right Bank are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure. Wines from Bordeaux lean towards a highly structured and earthy style whereas New World areas (as in the ones named above) tend to produce bold and fruit-forward blends. Either way, Bordeaux red blends generally have aromas and flavors of black currant, cedar, plum, graphite, and violet, with more red fruit flavors when Merlot makes up a high proportion of the blend.

Perfect Pairings

Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb or smoked duck.

Sommelier Secret

While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties in specified percentages, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include equal amounts of Cabernet Franc and Malbec, for example. Occassionally a winemaker might add a small percentage of a non-Bordeaux variety, such as Syrah or Petite Sirah for a desired result.

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    Penley Estate Chertsey 2004
    Bordeaux Red Blends from Coonawarra, South Australia, Australia
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    • RP90
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    Realm The Tempest 2004
    Bordeaux Red Blends from Napa Valley, California
    • RP91
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    Harlan Estate 2004
    Bordeaux Red Blends from Oakville, Napa Valley, California
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    Bryant Family DB4 2004
    Bordeaux Red Blends from Napa Valley, California
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    Lail J. Daniel Cuvee 2004
    Bordeaux Red Blends from Napa Valley, California
    • RP95
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    Selene Chesler 2004
    Bordeaux Red Blends from Napa Valley, California
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    Cote Bonneville Dubrul Vineyard Red Blend 2004
    Bordeaux Red Blends from Yakima Valley, Columbia Valley, Washington
    • RP94
    • WS94
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    Carmelo Patti Gran Assemblage 2004
    Bordeaux Red Blends from Mendoza, Argentina
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    De Toren Fusion V 2004
    Bordeaux Red Blends from South Africa
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      Keenan Mernet Reserve 2004
      Bordeaux Red Blends from Spring Mountain District, Napa Valley, California
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      Duckhorn Howell Mountain Red Wine 2004
      Bordeaux Red Blends from Napa Valley, California
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      Colgin Cariad 2004
      Bordeaux Red Blends from Napa Valley, California
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    • Lewis Cellars Cuvee L 2004
      Bordeaux Red Blends from Napa Valley, California
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        Harlan The Maiden 2004
        Bordeaux Red Blends from Oakville, Napa Valley, California
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        • RP92
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        Melka Wines Metisse Jumping Goat Vineyard 2004
        Bordeaux Red Blends from Napa Valley, California
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        Futo 2004
        Bordeaux Red Blends from Oakville, Napa Valley, California
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        Robert Foley Vineyards Claret 2004
        Bordeaux Red Blends from Napa Valley, California
        • RP94
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        Sloan Proprietary Red 2004
        Bordeaux Red Blends from Rutherford, Napa Valley, California
        • RP98
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        Bond St. Eden 2004
        Bordeaux Red Blends from Napa Valley, California
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        Pride Mountain Vineyards Reserve Claret 2004
        Bordeaux Red Blends from North Coast, California
        • CG92
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        Dancing Hares 2004
        Bordeaux Red Blends from Napa Valley, California
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        Blackbird Vineyards Proprietary Red (1.5L Magnum) 2004
        Bordeaux Red Blends from Oak Knoll District, Napa Valley, California
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        • Cayuse Camaspelo 2004
          Bordeaux Red Blends from Walla Walla Valley, Columbia Valley, Washington
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          Levy & McClellan Ampersand Red 2004
          Bordeaux Red Blends from Napa Valley, California
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            Harlan Estate (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2004
            Bordeaux Red Blends from Napa Valley, California
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