The Secret Art of Making Red Blend Wine

If you’ve enjoyed a delicious glass of Dead Canyon Ranch Red or Encore Dark Red recently, you may not have realized that you were actually drinking a red blend wine. What is red blend wine? Quite simply, it is a domestic wine not made from one specific wine grape but rather a blend of several different grape varieties. 

How Is Red Blend Wine Made?

You may know that red blend wine is becoming increasingly popular, selling more than pinot noir or merlot and even rivaling the historically best selling red wine, cabernet sauvignon. What you may not know is that the best red wines have always been a blend. 

Creating a red blend wine is part art and part science. Essentially, winemakers are designing wines using different types of wine grapes to achieve flavor combinations that are most appealing.

After the red wine grapes are harvested, they are prepared for fermentation. The winemaker starts the fermentation process by adding yeast, then allowing the wine to ferment fully. This is followed by pressing (to extract all the juice from the grape skins), a second fermentation, aging, and finally, blending.

For example, merlot grapes are often grown together with cabernet sauvignon grapes and then blended together in the winemaking process. A full-bodied French Bordeaux contains a combination of merlot, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, Petit Verdot, and malbec grapes in varying quantities.

To produce the best red wine blends, a winemaker must have deep knowledge of each grape’s characteristics and how combining them can create a delicious and harmonious wine.

Foods That Pair Perfectly With Red Blend Wine

Because of their big, bold flavors, heavier red blend wines pair wonderfully with meat such as steak or lamb. More moderate red blends complement pasta dishes such as Rigatoni Bolognese or authentic Mexican food like Cochinita Pibil.

Generally, red blends are too heavy to pair with light dishes such as seafood or salad because their flavors overpower the taste of the food.

Best Red Blend Wines of 2021

Every year, wine connoisseurs circulate lists of their choices for the best red wine blends. While the recommendations are solid, some of their top picks can be pricey, exceeding $1000 a bottle. If your wine budget isn’t quite that high, we can offer our own picks for three of the best red blend wines of 2021 that won’t break the bank.

  • The Culprit 2018. A Zinfandel blend created with seven grapes, this bold wine features notes of oak, vanilla, and leather. Aromas of cassis and blackberry pie make it a luscious choice. 
  • Perimeter Red Blend 2019. Wine lovers give high marks to this smooth Washington state wine. The taste profile includes cherry, strawberry, and raspberry notes with aromas of cherry cola and delicate gardenia.
  • Educated Guess Red Wine Blend 2016. Not your typical red wine blend, this full-bodied wine offers flavors of Provencal herbs, vanilla, and caramelized sugar married to tones of nutmeg, cedar, and smoke. 

Final Thoughts

For a long time, red blend wines had a reputation for being cheap and low quality. But in more recent years, wine aficionados are recognizing the art and science that goes into creating a superior tasting red blend wine. The truth is red blend wines have earned their rightful place in any wine lover’s collection.