Editor’s Note: This column is sponsored by Georgetown Square Wine and Beer (10400 Old Georgetown Road).
In part one of our red wine blend write-up, I wrote about the history of the red wine blend market in the United States. Even though winemakers have been making red wine blends for centuries, a new trend of wines marketed as blends has emerged.
Old World (France, Spain, Italy, Germany) wines such as Bordeaux, Cotes Du Rhone and Rioja are blends, but are under strict regulation as to which grapes winemakers may blend with. New World (U.S., Argentina, Chile, South Africa, New Zealand) wines do not have such strict regulation, which allows winemakers to use any grape they please. This allows New World winemakers to make delicious red wine blends at a great value. Here are some outstanding red wine blends we carry, all less than $15:
Thelema Mountain Red 2009 Stellenbosch, South Africa
Thelema Mountain Red is a blend of 42% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Shiraz, 14% Petit Verdot and 14% Grenache. This wine is an excellent example on how loose regulation allows for winemakers to use their creative skill. With spicy aromas of black pepper and mulberry and flavors of plum and delicious red fruits, this wine is soft and approachable. Perfect with a light to medium meal.
Dreaming Tree Crush 2011 Geyserville, California
You may have heard of one of Dreaming Tree Winery’s founders: Dave Matthews. After owning a winery in Virginia for a while, Dave laid his roots down in California and started the label Dreaming Tree. Since, Dreaming Tree Wine has appeared all over the country and become a favorite of many casual wine drinkers. With a blend of 55% Merlot, 17% Zinfandel, 13% Petite Sirah, 8% Syrah and 7% other, this wine has a hint of smokiness and wonderful flavors of berry jam. Goes well with any BBQ meat and spicy dishes.
Urban Uco Malbec — Tempranillo 2012 Mendoza, Argentina
I am a sucker for Argentinian wine; the value is out of this world. This red blend is a perfect example of an Argentinian wine that should cost twice its price. At a retail tag of $15, this wine is truly a steal. With a blend of 50% Malbec and 50% Tempranillo, this wine has bold black fruit flavors with earthy nuances. Pairs perfect with an Autumn BBQ or a nice dinner with friends.
Bulgariana Cabernet Sauvignon & Syrah 2009 Thracian Valley, Bulgaria
When I was first presented this wine and was told it was from Bulgaria, I was dismissive. I was foolish in not knowing the deep history of winemaking in Bulgaria. After my first sip, I was sold. This wine is excellent. At only $12, this is another steal. With a blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon and 50% Syrah, this bold wine can stand up to similar wines from California at a third of the price. It has a firm, powerful body with great tannin structure and balance. Pairs well with duck, lamb, pasta and grilled meats.
Primal Roots Red Blend 2011 Acampo, California
In the same category and price range as Apothic Red and Cupcake Red Velvet, Primal Roots Red is a great alternative. With a blend of 43% Merlot, 37% Syrah and 20% Zinfandel, this wine is smooth, silky, and tasty. With notes of raspberries, chocolate and vanilla, Primal Roots Red goes well by itself or with a light meal.
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