Finding the best red blend wine is a fun challenge for wine drinkers and experts. In reality, red blend wine is a massive category of wine. Even if you only shopped for a wine blend for the next few years, you would not taste everything. To help you find exceptional quality, let’s narrow the wide range of wines the wine industry offers.
Best Red Blend Wine: 3 Wines of Outstanding Quality From Bordeaux
My first encounter with the best red blend wine in the world came in a visit to France in 2014. I had the experience of visiting several vineyards in Bordeaux. It was a wonderful experience. Before this visit, my wine thinking was different. I thought that quality wine was always made from a single grape variety. In reality, a wine blend can result in beautiful wines.
In Bordeaux, classic blends – also known as Bordeaux-style red blends – typically focus on a few specific grape varieties. Traditionally, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc are the most popular grapes in Bordeaux-style red blends. Some take a creative approach to blending technique and add in other grapes like Malbec. Want to know more about French Malbec? Check out this guide to French Malbec wine.
Note: when you seek out the best red blend wine, be prepared to spend accordingly. Exceptional quality in wine rarely comes at the lowest prices. These wines may be difficult to find in most restaurants. If you want to enjoy these wines, call ahead to ask if the restaurant has them or buy them to enjoy at home.
Located in Bordeaux, Chateaux Margaux is regarded as one of the best wines in the world. If you seek the best red blend wine, Margaux is a great place to start. At the entry-level, Chateaux Margaux wines sell for $150 to $2000. The average wine critic score for Chateaux Margaux is 95 out of 100.
Chateau Mouton Rothschild
Continuing with our focus in Bordeaux, Chateau Mouton Rothschild has a long-established reputation for producing wine of exceptional quality. Wine reviewers such as Jancis Robinson and Wine Advocate have given these French wines very high ratings. Alas, buying this wine comes at a high price. Expect to pay $280-$300 per bottle at a minimum for retail.
Chateaux Cheval Blanc
Located in Bordeaux, Chateaux Cheval Blanc makes exceptional wine. Classified as a Grand Cru, the winery has received an average score of 95 out of 100 from hundreds of wine critics and praise from experts like Jancis Robinson. In the sub wine region of Saint-Émilion, Chateaux Cheval Blanc is often considered among the very best. Wine drinkers looking for the best Bordeaux-style blend have to try these wines.
Come prepared to spend a significant sum to experience this wine. Each bottle typically sells for a minimum of $400 to $500, and higher prices are standard.
The three wineries listed above are on my “wine bucket list.” I look forward to enjoying a bottle of one of these fine wines for an upcoming celebration.
Best Red Blend Wine: The Way To Find A Deal In French Wine
There’s no question that producers like Margaux and Rothschild make top-quality wines. That said, many wine drinkers are not comfortable spending over $100 per bottle. The alternate strategy is to learn how to read French wine bottle labels effectively.
If you are looking for the best red blend wine (including the Italian red blend category), use the following tips.
- Region. Certain regions like Bordeaux have built a long-term reputation for producing blended wines. Start with a wine region or producer known for producing quality blends when in doubt.
- The Geographic Rule. In French wine, geographic detail tends to indicate quality. For example, wines sold at the lowest prices might state “from France” on the label and nothing more. On the other hand, wine of exceptional quality will usually mention a region (e.g., Bordeaux) and specific appellation (e.g., St-Estèphe or Pauillac).
- The Quality Rule. A multi-tier quality system governs French wine. As SommWine points out, the highest quality tier used to be called AOC (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée). More recently, there is a European Union term called AOP (Appellation d’origine Protégée). These terms will be on the wine label. If you see these wine terms, it guarantees a certain quality level. As you get more experienced, you may have a favorite blend of grape varieties. For now, save yourself time by looking for the AOC or AOP quality designation.
Best Red Wine: Options From Napa Valley And Beyond
The art of creating a balanced blend of red wine is not limited to France. You can also find enjoyable wine blends in the warm climate of Napa Valley and other places in the US. Best of all, the average price is sometimes less than a Bordeaux-style red blend wine from France.
2016 DAOU Estate “Soul of a Lion” Paso Robles
I learned about this wine blend from an excellent Food and Wine article. Coming from Paso Robles, this wine blend offers Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Petit Verdot. The wine notes for this bottle highlight plums, blackberries, and cinnamon. According to Wine-Searcher, this Paso Robles wine has an average 95 out of 100 score from wine critics. The US retail price starts at around $170 per bottle.
Chappellet Mountain Cuvée 2018
Produced in the Napa Valley, this balanced blend of red wine features Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. Reviewers generally consider it to be a bold wine in taste. In terms of taste, you will likely notice the black fruit and notes of plums in your wine glass. For those looking to buy a few bottles of wine, take note of the amazing price. This Napa Valley wine typically sells for under $40 per bottle.
Looking for White Wine To Try?
Red wine blends are amazing! Yet there is so much more to the world of wine. If you have been enjoying many red wines recently, consider branching out to white wines. For something new, try a bottle of Vouvray wine from the Loire Valley in France.