Art of the blend

By on May 18, 2014
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The historic Columbia Gorge Hotel is the site for three major Pacific Northwest wine competitions each year.

The historic Columbia Gorge Hotel is the site for three major Pacific Northwest wine competitions each year. (Photo by Eric Degerman/Great Northwest Wine)

Walk into just about any wine shop or grocery and you’ll find a huge selection of red blends.

In the past decade, red blends have become the biggest category of wine in the Pacific Northwest. And it’s not just about Bordeaux varieties anymore. As you’ll see from the wines featured here, the grapes can be just about anything – from Cab to Syrah to Tempranillo to Zinfandel to Sangiovese.

A big part of this trend is the experimentation and creativity of the modern winemaker, who is taking on the French tradition of finding greatness in the sum of many parts.

The naysayer will portray this trend as a way “to hide Syrah” – and there is likely some truth to that because as the joke goes: “What’s the difference between a case of Syrah and a case of gonorrhea? It’s easier to get rid of a case of gonorrhea.” But we’ve found that the addition of Syrah can add so much to the depth of a red wine, so we welcome the great red grape of the Northern Rhône Valley to the mix.

Following are a dozen red blends we’ve tasted in recent weeks. It’s time for you do to some exploring.

About Great Northwest Wine

Articles authored by Great Northwest Wine are co-authored by Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue. In most cases, these are wine reviews that are judged blind by the Great Northwest Wine tasting panel.

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