We have seen an increase in the amount of domestic Red Blends leaving our store recently. There will always be trends in wine; recently the rise of Pinot Noir (which caused the decline of Merlot in my opinion), Malbec from Argentina, Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand and so on. We have seen the Red Blend come back to popularity. There are lots of names for different Red Blends; traditionally Bordeaux style Red Blends comprised of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc have been referred to as a Meritage or Claret. Traditional Rhone style Red Blends using Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre (G.S.M.) have been imitated all over the world. But these new Red Blends that I speak of are a different breed and the main ingredient is Zinfandel.
The Apothic, Cupcake Red Velvet, Menage a Trois (all $11.99) all from the Central Coast of California, all have a percentage of Zinfandel in the composition. Zinfandel can provide that more extracted, higher sugar content that allows for a touch of sweetness on the palate. This accompanied with Syrah, Petit Syrah and other similar grapes from California’s Central Coast is developing a unique style of wine. These more affordable Red Blends are taking off maybe because they all do have a certain level of residual sugar which makes them come off as slightly sweet red wine. This isn’t Lambrusco sweet, but definitely markets itself as a more approachable semi-sweet red wine. These wines are great options for customers that don’t enjoy an overly tannic, very dry red wine. This is an easy intro wine style that is definitely more approachable if you are starting to get into drinking wine.
Whether it is in New Zealand or Argentina or California, these New World Wines are getting more extraction; more pure fruit driven wines. Maybe that goes hand in hand with the modern palate. This definitely is not for everyone, some would argue with the direction of this modern wine style. Yet it can not be ignored, it is just an expansion on the options a modern wine drinker has.
Wine Buyer, West Vail Liquor Mart