Types of Red Wine Blends
Winemakers frequently blend wines to add complexity and balance the flavor and aromas. Overall, different types of red wine blends are more frequently created compared to white wines. The time of blending depends on the wine producer and the desired result. Some winemakers blend red wines immediately after fermentation and others blend them 3-6 months after the harvest.
While red wine blends are usually cheaper, this does not mean that the quality is poor; in fact, a skilled winemaker can blend two inexpensive types of grapes and create a delicious and flavorful mixture. And, judging by the sales of red blended wines, a lot of consumers actually seem to prefer these drinks.
Today, red blends are readily available and fairly inexpensive. Overall, they tend to be juicy, sweet, and easy to drink.
Types of Red Wine Blends
Types of red wine blends are made globally, including in the USA, where California produces the most. However, some of the best are actually made in Washington State. Some of the types of red wines that are used to create red blends include the following:
Cabernet Sauvignon. It's one of the most popular reds. The wines produced in the USA tend to be fruitier and sweeter, whereas those from France tend to be herbal with a tinge of spice mixed with cherries. Cabernet is best paired with almost any meat including lamb, ribs, burger, and even steak.
Merlot is another very popular red and is an excellent starting wine for beginners. Unlike Cabernet, Merlot is a little delicate and fruitier. The wine is easy to drink and will leave a pleasant aftertaste. It is best paired with barbecued chicken, roasted duck, or quail.
Zinfandel is a semi-sweet wine that is also popular in the USA. The USA varieties tend to be juicy and have a mildly sweet taste, but the European variety can be bold and high in alcohol content. Zinfandel is best paired with Italian dishes, like pasta, pizza, and lasagna.
Pinot Noir is usually less sweet compared to many other red blends. It is a dry wine, light- to medium-bodied, and has complex flavors that include raspberry, cranberry, cherry, vanilla, and even baking spice. It is best paired with seafood, especially salmon or sushi.
Malbec is a deep red-purplish wine that tastes a little like Syrah. The reason why malbec is popular is that it is a medium-bodied wine with a tinge of sweetness and cherry flavor. It is the perfect wine when entertaining friends as it is enjoyable to drink. It is best paired with spicy foods like Thai, Mexican, or Indian dishes.
Syrah (France)/Shiraz (Australia) are full-bodied dark red wines with fruity flavors that range from blackberries to black olives. The first sip will be flavorful but will leave a bold spicy peppery aftertaste. This is the wine you drink while relaxing after a long day at work. To make the taste even better, pair it with a dish of charcuterie meats combined with soft cheese and crackers.
Sangiovese is a medium-bodied wine comparable to Merlot but tends to have a higher amount of alcohol. The wine has a distinct pepper-tobacco taste and will leave an aftertaste. This complex wine is best paired with Italian foods, like pasta, pizza, garlic bread, and, of course, Risotto.
So, the fun in making a red blend is in the design. Winemakers can get very creative, can play with almost unlimited possibilities, and can essentially design a new type of wine. Each red blend is a mixture and balance of some of the above red wines, and the taste can be crafted to make a different product every time.
For instance, in our 2018 Silver Totem Red Blend: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Malbec are fermented separately, allowing each grape to fully express itself. The wines are pressed and aged in a mix of stainless-steel tanks and barrels for three months, developing depth while maintaining the purity of fruit. Each cuvée is evaluated prior to making the final blend, then returned to tanks and barrels, with a dash of toasted oak for nuance. This additional aging brings the wine together in one harmonious voice.
To learn more about the types of red wine blends, contact the wine experts at Pacific Rim & Company at 1-503-863-5454. If you join the mailing list, you can receive 10 percent off your order.