The term “Red Blend” refers to red wines that are crafted from unusual or uncommon grape varieties or combinations thereof. It is also a convenient label for wines whose specific blend is either unknown or undisclosed.
While these rare red-wine blends are typically intricate, many of them adhere to specific patterns. Numerous blends are regional variations of the renowned Bordeaux Blend. By incorporating their local signature grape alongside a basic Cabernet-Merlot blend, various regions have successfully expanded the appeal of their wines while still maintaining a distinct regional character. In Italy, this is accomplished by utilizing local specialties like Sangiovese, Montepulciano, and even the unique Lagrein from Trentino. In Austria, this is achieved with grapes like Zweigelt or Blaufränkisch, and sometimes both.
Certain wineries purposely draw attention to their complex or unusual blends. For instance, New Zealand’s Matariki winery produces a wine called “Quintology,” which derives its name from being made with five classic grape varieties, with “quint” representing the Latin prefix for “five.” Across the Pacific, renowned Chilean winery Viña Errazuriz produces a wine simply labeled as “The Blend.”
The possibilities for blends falling into the Rare Red Blend category are extensive. This is particularly evident in Italy, a country celebrated for its seemingly limitless selection of obscure grape varieties. In Italy, it is not uncommon for winemakers to blend Sangiovese and Barbera with Marzemino and Groppello to create a unique flavor. In fact, there is wine produced from vineyards overlooking Lake Garda using this blend.