Pacific Rim
December 22, 2021 | wine | Pacific Rim

What Do Red Wine Blends Taste Like?

Red blend wines are very popular in North America among people of all ages. These wines are usually made from a combination of grapes to enhance the aroma and flavor. In general, red blend wine taste tends to be juicy and fruity (usually red or black fruits, like berries) but the sweetness may vary. 

Does blending wine make it taste better? 

Most red blend wines tend to be on the sweeter side, but some red blend wines are medium to full-bodied and tend to be less sweet. Here is a list of some common red wines, that are mixed to create red blends, and their tastes:

Chianti is one of the most well-known Italian red wines from Tuscany. It is a dry medium-bodied wine made from the Sangiovese grapes blended with other grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon or Cabernet Franc. Chianti does contain tannins and has a gentle cherry tart, red fruit, balsamic vinegar, and dried herbs flavor. Some people like to age Chianti wine, which has rich savory flavors that pair with most Italian foods.

Rioja is a red wine from Northeast Spain that contains 2/3rd Tempranillo grapes that are blended with Graciano, Marzullo, and Maturana Tinta grapes. The wine is somewhat sweet with low acidity and has flavors of plum, cherry, vanilla, and dill when young, but to experience the best of Rioja, older reds are recommended as they have tannins with medium sweetness with moderate oak flavors.

Lambrusco is a sweet dark purple Italian wine that should be served chilled for the best flavors. It is a bubbly and refreshing light wine. Because it is easy to drink, it is often the wine reserved for the holidays. Small sips will reveal the floral aroma with juicy red berry notes. Lambrusco is best paired with spicy charcuterie, salty cheese, and crackers.

Port is a sweet red wine that is usually fortified with a touch of brandy to give it a flavor of alcohol. This Portuguese wine is usually richer, sweeter, and higher in alcohol content than non-fortified wines. With the first sip, you will note the aromas of berries, anise, and smoke. Port wine is best paired with dried fruit, nuts, soft cheeses, and chocolates. Because of the high alcohol content, the potential to get intoxicated is high.

Pinot noir is a light-to-medium-bodied red wine with relatively low alcohol content compared to other red wines. The wine has pleasant fruity (cherry, raspberry) and earthy (mushroom) flavors, with the addition of vanilla. Pinot Noir is quite smooth and fun to drink. It is a versatile red wine that can be paired with many foods, like roasted chicken, duck, salmon, etc. 

Merlot is a full-bodied deep velvety red. It is well known for its fruity flavors of cherries and chocolate. It is one of the easiest wines to start with and it also contains low sugars. Merlot goes best with fast foods, like pizza, burgers, and all types of pasta.

Zinfandel is a full-bodied red wine, packed with juicy, fruity flavors, like blackberries and strawberries. Aged Zinfandel can even have flavors of spices, like cinnamon and cloves. This bold wine is often quite sweet, but the red variety is often high in alcohol content. It is one of the few versatile wines that is consumed all year round. Being bold, it is best paired with spicy and hot dishes, like barbecue, Indian, and Mexican foods.

Cabernet Sauvignon is a darkish red wine that is probably the most consumed wine on the planet. It is blended with many grapes and the taste varies depending on the region. In general, Cabernet has flavors of tobacco, green pepper, black cherry, and even hints of vanilla and spice in the aged varieties. This dry wine is very mildly sweet and a great wine for beginners. It is best paired with meat dishes, like steak, lamb, ribs, and pork.

Malbec is a full-bodied deep purplish-red wine. Depending on where it is grown, it can have flavors of black cherry and a tinge of raspberry. It is a smooth dry wine and will leave a chocolatey taste on the tongue. It is ideal for people who want a non-sweet dry wine. It is best paired with Salmon, poultry, and, of course, dark meat.

Syrah (France)/Shiraz (Australia) is a potent fruity full-bodied wine with high tannins. It contains heavy fruity flavors that range from sweet blueberry to vinegar-tinged olives. It will give you a punch with the first sip and then leave a residual spicy peppery note on the tongue.

So, as an example: Red Bordeaux is a classical blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc, though, in France, both Malbec and Petit Verdot are also used. Red Bordeaux has a lofty quality that combines flavors of chocolate, vanilla, spice, licorice, and black cherry. Red Bordeaux wines tend to be potent, concentrated, and on the dry side. In its youth, the wine tends to be soft but with age, it will be full of aromas. Red Burgundy is best paired with exotic cheese, crackers, charcuterie, and even dried fruit.


The best way to experience red blend wine taste is to try them – yes, each one! Explore and discover your favorites. Keep notes of which wines you prefer. Does blending wine make it taste better? Many people think so as blending brings a different level of complexity and texture to the wine. 

The majority of red blend wines are flavorful, and you will be hard-pressed to find one that you do not like. The key is to start with the sweet wines and then move to the full-bodied wines. At the beginning of your experiments, sip the wine to acquire the flavors. Even though there are a lot of suggestions regarding food pairings, the ultimate decision is yours. 

There is no rule that states that you are only supposed to have a certain food with a specific wine; it is all a matter of personal preference.  To speak to a knowledgeable wine expert, talk to the staff at Pacific Rim & Company.  Call them at 1-503-863-5454 today.


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