Many people who come in the store look for specific varietals of wine…Cabernet, Chardonnay, etc. However, many wines are blends of two or more different grapes. The different grapes contribute different aspects to the flavor profile of the wine. One grape may add structure, another may supply dark fruits, and another may add spice.  As a result, the wines can be remarkably complex and flavorful.

Many countries in Europe label their wines by the region where they are grown (Bordeaux, Chateauneuf du Pape) rather than the type of grape in the bottle, and these are very often blends of several grapes.

LyethBordeaux wines can contain up to five specific grapes—Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Malbec. (Carmenere is also allowed, but almost never used). These wines tend to be dry, structured, and complex. Although some can cost over $1000.00 a bottle, many wonderful examples exist in the $10.00 to $20.00 range. Look for Chateau Vrai Caillou, Terrefort Lescalleand St. Elme.

Meritage (rhymes with “heritage”) is an American wine that contains a combination of the same grapes found in Bordeaux wines. Claret is yet another term for the same type of wine. Newton, Rodney Strong, and Franciscan are a few to look for. Lyeth makes a nice one for under $15.00.

Up to nine different grapes an be used in Chateauneuf du Pape, though...

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-Kevin Downs