What: Canoe Ridge Vineyard Cherry Street Reserve Red Wine Horse Heaven Hills 2012 $25
Where: QFC, Safeway, Fred Meyer
Why: One of California’s contributions to the wine world has been the widespread advent of varietal wines. Whereas many Old World wine regions, such as France, labeled their wines simply by region, legendary Napa Valley winemaker Robert Mondavi (among others) promoted marketing US wines instead with the variety name. Wines would be labeled Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir, instead of say Bordeaux, Chablis, and Burgundy as they had been before. It caught on and varietal wines now rule the market.
Recently, however, there has been a resurgence of wines labeled simply as ‘Red Wine’ or ‘Red Blend.’ The benefit of not labeling by variety is that it allows wineries to adjust the blend from year to year to focus on producing the best wine possible regardless of the varieties used. Consumers have taken notice, with red blends one of the hottest categories on the market today.
A high quality, well-priced example of a red blend is the Canoe Ridge Vineyard Cherry Street Reserve Red Wine Horse Heaven Hills 2012 ($25). It’s a sure fire crowd pleaser with plenty of cranberry, mocha and raspberry aromas and flavors. It’s mostly Syrah and Merlot, but the emphasis here is less on which varieties are used than the delicious end result. Drink up!