Many wine purists insist that single variety or varietal wines are preferable to blended wines, but limiting yourself to varietal wines for wine gifts and personal consumption often means you are missing out on some delicious and skillfully combined blends. Sure, it’s important to be familiar with varietal wines and to know, for instance, that you love a good Zinfandel, but some of the best wines on the market today are blended wines.
Many wines with which you are already familiar with are actually blends. Chianti, Bordeaux, and Meritage are all blended wines. Many wines labeled as varietal wines may also contain other grapes, depending on the laws of the country of origin. For instance, American wines are only required to have 75% of a single grape variety to be considered a varietal wine, meaning that the Cabernet Sauvignon you are drinking most likely contains a dash of Cabernet Franc or Merlot.
At their most basic, blended wines are simply wines made by professional vintners who blend different grapes varieties in order to create a wine with more complexity, texture, and flavor than a varietal wine. The final goal of blending wine is to balance out flavor characteristics of the different grapes. The process makes sense if you think about it: if you have two, three, four, or more grape varieties to work with, then you can blend them in such a way that you enhance their appealing characteristics and cloak their less appealing characteristics. The ability to blend grape varieties can also come in especially handy during a poor growing season if a certain vineyard’s crop proves to be, for instance, too sugary.
At GiftTree, we offer several superb blended wines in our gift baskets. Our 5th Avenue contains Maryhill Winemaker’s Blend, a prestigious and award-winning blend from Washington. Laurels aside, the wine is simply delicious and highly drinkable. We also offer another great wine from the Maryhill Winery, their Proprietor’s Reserve Serendipity, which is a delightful Bordeaux blend.
The next time you are at the store to purchase wine, don’t let wines labeled as “red wine” or “table wine” deter you. While some cheaper blends carry these names, some of the more expensive and superior blends are labeled as such for matters of simplicity. Also, the absence of a varietal name on the label that tells you the wine is a blend. If you have your doubts, you can always rely on the reputation of the winery to key you in to the blend’s quality. Have fun and let us know of any discoveries you make along the way!