Domestic red blends can be a bit of a mystery because U.S. appellations aren’t tied to particular styles or combination of grape varieties. That’s why it’s helpful when producers include labeling information that tells which grapes play leading and supporting roles in a wine. For instance, if cabernet sauvignon dominates the blend that might indicate a more powerful and tannic red, while a large percentage of merlot may mean a softer, easier-to-drink wine. The following are two examples.
Gundlach Bundschu Winery 2018 Mountain Cuvée, Sonoma County, CaliforniaBought • Wine and Cheese Place, 9755 Manchester Road, in October for $13.99
Description • If you’re a fan of right bank Bordeaux-style reds, give this elegant blend a try. It comes from the Gundlach Bundschu Winery, which is now in its sixth generation of ownership. An aromatic blend of 77% merlot and 13% cabernet sauvignon with small amounts of petit verdot, malbec and cabernet franc, this is a soft, silky red that’s beautifully balanced and very easy to drink. Medium- to full-bodied, it’s a versatile red that would be a great addition to the Thanksgiving table.
Smashberry 2018 Red Wine, Paso Robles, CaliforniaBought • Wine and Cheese Place, 9755 Manchester Road, in October for $12.99
Description • This bold, aggressive red is made in a very different style than the Mountain Cuvée. It comes from Miller Family Wines, which is in its fifth generation of California farming. A blend of 42% cabernet sauvignon, 26% syrah, 16% merlot and 8% each of lagrein and grenache, this is a full-bodied, powerful red. A bit rustic and tannic, it tastes of plums and red berries with hints of smoke and mint. It needs hearty and flavorful foods like grilled lamb.