Red Blends $20 to $55

GDP's top list of blended red wines


2010 Buty Columbia Valley Red Wine 14.3% $45

58% Merlot, 42% Cabernet Franc

Pencil shavings, red cherries and faint green herb notes come together over a base note of sweet creme brulee on the nose. This acts all non-descriptor on entry, showing a hint of something meaty and some toasty vanilla-laced cereal notes. With time the mid-palate pops open, revealing bright, juicy red raspberry and strawberry fruit. This is lively in the mouth with a touch of creaminess from the oak, but the flavors are lovely, if a touch faint. There's a little heat on the finish, and some gentle spicy notes, but the fruit lingers on in a spicy, red way. A little too much alcohol, but this is lovely and fresh. 92pts

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2008 Ferrari - Carano Tresor Sonoma County 14.1% $45

A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot.

Certainly spicy from oak on the nose, this is also surprisingly red-fruited with hints of blueberry and black cherry floating over that red fruited base. This shows lovely balance on entry, made in a ripe but still transparent style, there's plenty of oak here, creating a dark, slightly spicy and toasty base for the crisp, mineral-flecked red and black currant and black plum flavors which have a spicy edge of their own. The acidity is well integrated but by no means soft, keeping this lively right through the clean, taut and slightly drying medium length finish. Fairly elegant and well balanced, this can be enjoyed today but should age fairly well. 92pts

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2008 J Lohr St. E Paso Robles Red Wine 14.9% $50

An unspecified blend

Big black currant and black plum fruit greet the nose over black olive, bay leaf, roast beef, tobacco and mint nuances. This is dry, linear and compact on entry with a lovely brambly black currant perfume. There's plenty of tannins here but they're not too dry and they are well covered by the earthy, slightly leather black fruits on the palate. Bordering on austere, this delivers a really compelling blend of savory olive and tobacco flavors along with the ripe and almost, but not quite, sweet black fruit. The finish is dominated by that same black fruit with oak spice lurking under the fruit. Not as long as one might hope but still lovely with a wild cherry streak running through it that pops on the finale. 92pts

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2006 Neyen Espiritu de Apalta Colchagua Valley Chile 14% $50

50% Carmenere, 50% Cabernet Sauvignon

Intense fudge, cocoa and mineral notes greet the nose followed by concentrated black fruits, smoke, plum, sage and white pepper aromas. Almost light on entry, this builds some inky depth on the palate in a tight, linear style. In need of further aging or time in a decanter, this is a bit nervous and taut in the mouth, slowly revealing blueberry, wild plum and blackberry flavors dotted with slightly peppery oak over black earth and dried herb flavors. The finish shows a hint of tomato fruit and good length with violet-tinged inner mouth perfumes. Really quite long even if a little tight, it’s a wine which shows finesse. 92pts

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2009 Raymond Burr Quartet Tinto da Nossa Quinta Dry Creek Valley 14.1% $45

An unspecified blend

Complex, earthy, and gently herbal on the nose with attractive cocoa, sassafras, and almost orange blossom-like notes over a base of mulberry, black currant and blueberry fruit. Slightly rustic and edgy on entry, there's bright acidity and brushy tannins competing for one's attention in the mouth, all wrapped up with herb-tinged, under-ripe blackberry and black currant fruit that wears a bit of older oak on its sleeve. This is dusty, and slightly earthy with a bit of alcoholic heat intruding on the palate but then disappearing on the modest finish, which features a bit of rocky minerality, a hint of spearmint and austere tannins over fading dried raspberry fruit. This needs food but is nicely medium-bodied and I love the nervous energy coming from the acidity and tannins. Very lively on the palate. 92pts

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2009 Trinchero Meritage Red Wine Napa Valley 14.2% $46

72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 8% Petit Verdot, 5% Cabernet Franc

Deep, broad and complex on the nose with attractive hints of tomato leaf, vanilla, dry earth and caramel all underpinning the core of plummy wild cherry fruit. Air really brings out the perfumed herbal top notes here. A bit matte and heavy on entry, this is a young, powerful wine with subtle tobacco and herb scented dark fruits in the mouth built on a base of earth and slightly toasty caramel notes. The tannins appear supple at first but do build on the palate, and the acidity, which is unnoticeable on entry, manages to peek out on the finale where most of the action is. There's a lot of mint, and medicinal herb action going on here along with spicy cherry, currant and plum fruits, but this needs time to reveal all of its potential on the palate. Today it is dark, brooding and inky, give this 3-5 years in the cellar. 92pts

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2008 Hacienda Araucano Clos de Lolol Lolol Valley Chile 14% $20

38% Carmenere, 28% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Syrah, 14% Cabernet Franc

Pretty and perfumed with scents of french oak and vanilla framing the core of red currant and black cherry fruit. This has a fine herbal steak to it and a lightly floral top note that recalls fennel and citrus flowers. A little light on entry, this flashes a hint of white chocolate early on the palate, which is followed by a nice combination of wood spice and fresh, lightly spicy red berry fruit with a hint of pomegranate. Nicely firm in the mouth, the balance between the fine-grained, well-managed tannins and moderate acidity lends this a slight austerity in the mouth which is refreshing and mostly covered by the fruit today. The finish is lightly peppery with hints of licorice and cinnamon. Classically styled and quite enjoyable today, this should improve over the next 2-4 years. 91pts

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2006 Cosentino Winery The Poet Meritage Napa Valley Red Wine 14.9% $55

Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot

Lots of tobacco and herb reaches the nose here over a base of perfumed French oak with blueberry, blackberry, prune, coffee and vanilla aromas. A touch small scaled for a wine of this type, this is nonetheless fairly seamless and well-balanced even if it is decidedly tannic. The fruit is precise, showing plum, mocha, and black currant flavors over some oaky spiciness, but it's not too intense. The finish gains complexity from sage and tobacco nuances. Very well-behaved and attractive if a bit tough and tannic at this point. 91pts

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2008 Rodney Strong Symmetry Meritage Red Wine Alexander Valley 15% $50

65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Malbec, 7% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot, 1% Cabernet Franc

Fairly oaky and tight on the nose with dark currant and plum fruit over cigar box and caramel aromas topped by hints of minty herbs and ash.  Nicely textured in the mouth, this is soft and smooth with a firm backbone of tannins. The flavors today run toward the oaky end of the spectrum, with spicy wood, vanilla and toast notes throughout the palate, but the underlying fruit is black curranty and dark, slight dried fruit notes sits at the wine's core. The back end shows more tannin, which surprisingly lifts on the finish revealing more depth of fruit and spicy notes on the finale. Fairly large scaled, this needs some time to unwind but should open nicely given 1-3 years in the cellar. 91pts

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Red Blends $20-$55

Penley Estate Red Bordeaux Blend Coonawarra Chertsey (2008)
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St. Supéry Vineyards Red Bordeaux Blend Napa Valley Élu Meritage (2008)
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Urraca Familia Langley Reserva (2005)
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Terra Blanca Onyx (2008)
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Trione Vineyards Alexander Valley Bordeaux Blend (2008)
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Gérard Bertrand Vin de Pays d'Oc Cigalus (2010)
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Seven Hills Ciel du Cheval (2009)
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Buty Columbia Valley Red Blend (2010)
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Ferrari-Carano Winery Tresor Sonoma County (2008)
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J. Lohr Cuvée St. E (2008)
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Neyen Espiritu de Alpalta Cabernet Sauvignon. Carmenere. Petit Verdot Colchagua (2006)
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Raymond Burr Quartet Tinto da Nossa Quinta Dry Creek Valley (2009)
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Trinchero Meritage (2009)
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Jacques & Francois Lurton Hacienda Araucano Clos de Lolol Colchagua Valley (2008)
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Cosentino Winery Red Blend Napa Valley (2006)
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Rodney Strong Red Bordeaux Blend Alexander Valley Symmetry (2008)
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Quickfire Cabernet Sauvignon (2008)
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Terlato Vineyards Devil's Peak (2008)
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Antiyal Alto Maipo (2010)
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Girard Artistry Girard Artistry (2009)
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D'Arenberg the Galvo Garage Cabernet/Merlot/Pv/Cabernet Franc (2007)
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Roxy Ann Winery Claret (2008)
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Chappellet Cervantes Mtn Cuv10 (2010)
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Sherwood House Sherwood Manor (2007)
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Terlato Vineyards Angels' Peak (2008)
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Cypress Vineyards Shiraz Santa Clara Valley (2008)
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Paraduxx Napa Valley (2009)
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Artiste Eyes Wide Shut Bottled In (NV)
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Bouchard Finlayson Red Blend Walker Bay Hannibal (2009)
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Decoy Merlot Sonoma County (2010)
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Brian Carter Cellars Tempranillo Blend Columbia Valley Corrida (2008)
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Treana Cabernet-Syrah Blend Paso Robles Red (2009)
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Yorkville Cellars Red Blend Yorkville Highlands Richard the Lion-Heart Rennie Vineyard (2009)
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Viña Maquis Syrah Blend Colchagua Valley Lien (2008)
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Mentioned in this article


  • Snooth User: Rynobear
    947324 47

    I am a huge Justin fan. where does Isosceles stack up in this list of these great blends?

    Jan 10, 2013 at 5:08 PM

  • Snooth User: shirazzee
    1135101 21

    No Canadian worthy splurges?

    Jan 10, 2013 at 8:09 PM

  • Snooth User: info171
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    194522 32

    Lapsus lingue. On several subtitles "Cabernet Franc" stays instead of "Cabernet Sauvignon", or something else.

    Jan 11, 2013 at 1:15 AM

  • Snooth User: zinfandel1
    Hand of Snooth
    154660 1,085

    Trinchero Vineyards are most interesting to me and I am looking forward to trying the 2009 Meritage. There wines seem to have an "Old School" style which I like.

    Jan 13, 2013 at 11:07 AM

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