The Beginner’s Guide to Blended Wines
If you’re just starting out in the wine world, the idea of a blend may be slightly intimidating. There are so many kinds, with endless combinations, and it can all be a bit confusing.
What is a blend anyway? What about that rumor I heard that blends are just cheap ways for manufacturers to sell their unused wine? How do I know what to pair them with?
Have no fear, we are here to answer all of your blend questions!
What is a blended wine?
Okay, let’s start with the basics. Simply, a blended wine is a bottle of wine made by combining two or more varietals, either by flavor base, vintage, or tannin levels. The goal is to create new flavors and aromas that cannot be achieved using just one variety of grape.
Why would I pick a blend instead of just a single varietal?
Blends are sort of the “best of both worlds” of wine. Wine blends basically combine all of the best qualities of each varietal and cover up the lesser points at the same time.
Let’s say you love the flavor profile of a Cabernet Sauvignon but the tannins are too strong for you. You could look for a red blend that has two other reds besides a Cab, like a Malbec or a Merlot, which would maintain that deep flavor of dark red wine without such a high tannin level.
Is there a common kind of blend I should look for?
Winemakers have been getting pretty fancy with their blends lately, but if you’re looking for something trustworthy to start out with, always go for the Bordeaux-style blend. A Bordeaux blend can only contain Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Petite Verdot, Carmendere, and Cabernet Franc. In France, if the bottle contains anything else besides these, it cannot be called Bordeaux.
Finding the right blend can take a little trial and error. Start small, with a blend that contains a large percentage of a varietal you are you certain you enjoy, and then move from there. Blended wines used to be considered the red-headed stepchild of the industry because they were thought to be cheap and careless. Now, winemakers take special care in the blends they create, using those bottles as an opportunity to show off their talent and creativity!