A Simple Guide to Rhone Blends
I’ve been tasting a few Rhone style blends of as of late, and am looking forward to a small vertical of Château Beaucastel Chateauneuf-du-Pape covering the vintages 1995-2005 next week, a report on which will be coming soon.
With all these Rhone blends flying around, I thought this would be a good time to take a quick look at what each of the major varieties might bring to these blends. A fair question might be, why are these wines blended? The easy answer is that the resultant wines are more complex than any component is on its own, and history probably plays at least as big a role.
Historically, many regions relied on a variety of grapes to produce their wine. Some were early maturing, others late; some were drought-tolerant, others dealt well with excess rain. The ultimate goal was not to be able to produce some exceptional blend each year, but rather to produce something each year. In this day and age of wine as a luxury item we tend to forget how little we are removed from wine as a staple. It was food and water, calories, and a bright spot to otherwise difficult lives.
— Gregory Del Piaz, Snooth