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.
Rhone image via Shutterstock