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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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  • John Duval Plexus Red 2014
    Rhone Red Blends from Barossa Valley, Barossa, Australia
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  • Clos des Brusquieres Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2015
    Rhone Red Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
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  • Domaine de Mourchon Cotes du Rhone Villages Seguret Grande Reserve 2013
    Rhone Red Blends from Cotes du Rhone Villages, Rhone, France
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  • Dom. Lucien Barrot et Fils Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2012
    Rhone Red Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
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  • Yangarra Estate GSM 2015
    Rhone Red Blends from McLaren Vale, Australia
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  • Gueissard Bandol Rouge Cros du Loup 2013
    Rhone Red Blends from Bandol, Provence, France
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  • Domaine Grand Veneur Clos de Sixte Lirac 2007
    Rhone Red Blends from Rhone, France
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  • Lavau Gigondas 2013
    Rhone Red Blends from Gigondas, 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 de Fondreche Cotes du Ventoux Persia 2015
    Rhone Red Blends from Cotes du Ventoux, Rhone, France
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  • Alain Jaume Domaine du Clos de Sixte Lirac 2013
    Rhone Red Blends from Lirac, Rhone, France
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  • John Duval Plexus Red 2013
    Rhone Red Blends from Barossa Valley, Barossa, Australia
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  • Kalleske Clarry's GSM 2016
    Rhone Red Blends from Barossa Valley, Barossa, Australia
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  • Tardieu-Laurent Les Becs Fins Cotes du Rhone Rouge 2014
    Rhone Red Blends from Cotes du Rhone, Rhone, France
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    • V89
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  • Plateau de Chenes Lirac Rouge 2013
    Rhone Red Blends from Lirac, Rhone, France
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  • Domaine des Bosquets Gigondas 2013
    Rhone Red Blends from Gigondas, Rhone, France
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  • Roger Sabon Chateauneuf-du-Pape Les Olivets 2013
    Rhone Red Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
    • V90
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  • Twelftree Greenock Grenache-Mataro 2013
    Rhone Red Blends from Barossa Valley, Barossa, Australia
    • V92
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  • Gerard Bertrand Kosmos Organic Red Blend 2014
    Rhone Red Blends from Languedoc-Roussillon, France
    • WW91
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  • Chateau Pesquie Quintessence 2013
    Rhone Red Blends from Cotes du Ventoux, Rhone, France
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  • Bila-Haut by Michel Chapoutier Occultum Lapidem 2014
    Rhone Red Blends from Languedoc-Roussillon, France
    • RP92
    • WS90
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  • Guigal Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2010
    Rhone Red Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
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    • V93
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  • La Colliere Rasteau 2011
    Rhone Red Blends from Rasteau, Rhone, France
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  • Domaine de Durban Gigondas 2014
    Rhone Red Blends from Gigondas, Rhone, France
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  • Chateau Ste. Eulalie Minervois La Liviniere La Cantilene 2011
    Rhone Red Blends from Minervois La Liviniere, Languedoc-Roussillon, France
    • WS91
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