Bordeaux, Chianti, Rioja, the U.S. — so much of the world of wine is centered around red blends. Although blending red grapes has been part of winemaking since antiquity, the category dubbed “red blends” is a relatively new phenomenon. So, how do we define what qualifies a red blend today?
In Europe, even though there are a lot of red blends, they are strictly regulated within appellations. If you make wine outside the region’s set of rules you cannot put said appellation on the label. Here in the States, and in most wine regions outside Europe, the rules are much more lenient. A red blend can be anything you want it to be. And with so many varieties to choose from within a given wine zone, this category allows winemakers to show their creativity.
Although the category has only been around for a short while, it has come a long way. And what we’re seeing now is a new energy. In the States, it’s emerging as a category that harkens back to the nascent days of wine in America where field blends and a plethora of varieties were planted to see what worked. Here are 26 of the best red blends for 2024.
Table Of Contents
Best Red Blends Under $25
Keuka Spring Vineyards Crooked Lake Red NV
Yes, you read that right. This is a non-vintage red blend from the Finger Lakes in New York. The kicker is that it’s made with hybrid grapes like Frontenac and De Chaunac. It shows just how fun and delicious these varieties can be after decades of getting the side-eye. It has an earthy, rich nose filled with red and blue fruit and a hint of spice. The palate is juicy with medium-rich fruit that stands up to the high acidity.
Average Price: $17
S.C. Pannell Tempranillo Touriga 2020
Stephen Pannell aims to make wines that showcase the distinct terroir of Australia’s McLaren Vale region. So he works with unconventional varieties to find which are best suited to the area’s warm, dry climate. This approach leads to interesting wines like this Iberian-inspired blend of Tempranillo and Touriga Nacional. The nose has a slight smoky aroma. And the palate brings juicy blackberry, black cherry, and red licorice notes with complex hints of clove, nutmeg, and cinnamon. It lands soft on the palate, but still has a nice grip and great acidity.
Average Price: $19
Forlorn Hope ‘Queen of the Sierra’ Red 2021
Coming from a 75-acre organically farmed vineyard in the Sierra Foothills is Forlorn Hope. A winery that celebrates the little guy, the underdog, but for grapes — like this unique blend of Zinfandel, Barbera, and Grenache. It has a bright floral nose with pops of ripe strawberry and cherry aromas. The palate is juicy with high acidity and smooth tannins, which make it wonderfully chillable.
Average Price: $24
Best Red Blends Under $50
Cruse Wine Co. Monkey Jacket 2021
This wine is so cool. It’s made primarily from a southern French grape called Valdiguié with some Petite Sirah, Carignan, and other red grapes. It has a bright, punchy nose with a slight herby tinge. The palate has ripe, juicy fruit, but with great focus and balance.
Average Price: $25
Ricochet Wine Company Red Blend 2022
Wine lover turned winemaker turned teacher turned winemaker again, Erich Berg is doing something different. He’s making wine with unique blends (like this bottle made with Pinot Noir, Tempranillo, and Syrah) and giving back to the community with 5 percent of sales going to nonprofits helping people bounce back, hence the name Ricochet. The wine is delicious with brambly berries aromas and a well-balanced palate with wonderful acidity.
Average Price: $28
Boeger Winery Reserve Meritage 2019
This is a Bordeaux-style blend coming from California’s El Dorado AVA, a high-elevation mountain range where the vineyards are as high as 1,500 feet above sea level. With all that sun and cool air, these grapes are thriving, and it comes through in this extremely pleasurable red blend. It has a big, fruit-forward nose that draws you in. The natural acidity just bursts through the deep fruit, bringing wonderful balance.
Average Price: $30
Blenheim Vineyards Painted Red 2022
There’s just something about a Merlot-based red blend. They have such an appealing softness to them. And winemaker Kirsty Harmon knows how to get it just right. This is an awesome Virginia wine with bright fruit with a good dose of earth on the nose. The palate is wonderful with soft, fleshy fruit and great natural acidity. Fun fact: The label was designed by Dave Matthews.
Average Price: $34
Whitehall Lane Winery Tre Leoni Red Blend 2019
This Napa Valley wine captures the classic red blend style. It has meaty fruit and slight hints of pepper on the nose. It has a soft yet powerful palate with a nice grip and deep fruit. Quintessential red blend vibes.
Average Price: $35
Kunde Family Winery Dunfillan Cuvée 2021
The Kunde family has been farming in the Sonoma Valley for five generations beginning with cuttings from Chateaux Margaux and Lafite Rothschild in Bordeaux. This blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah is earthy on the nose with subtle yet prominent fruit. The palate is elegant and well balanced with good acidity and a very enjoyable finish.
Average Price: $35
Crosby Roamann Bon Ton Red 2021
Sean McBride and Julianna Arvai started Crosby Roamann from their Brooklyn apartment in 2006 and made it official when they moved to Napa Valley in 2010. Bon Ton means good tone and this wine has a mighty good tone. It has an earthy deep nose filled with all the red, blue, and black fruits and a great natural acidity that keeps you coming back for another sip.
Average Price: $36
Madroña Vineyards Signature Collection Quintet 2019
This wine is made with the five classic Bordeaux varieties, but grown at 3,000 feet above sea level in California’s El Dorado AVA. And it’s simply delicious. It has a welcoming nose with concentrated red fruit with a hint of earth and oak. The tannins are present but don’t overwhelm the wine, leading to a nice finish.
Average Price: $38
Marchelle Wines Old Vine Family Cuvée Proprietary Red Wine 2021
To say this wine is cool is an understatement. It’s extremely cool! Sourced from American ancient vineyards planted in California in the late 19th century and made from Carignan and an almost extinct French grape called Monbadon, this wine is a testament to our nascent wine culture. It’s bright and lively with a fruit-forward nose. The palate is plush with dense fruit notes and great acidity that leads to a lingering finish.
Average Price: $39
Alluvium Cellars Agerasia 2021
There’s a new generation of winemakers in Washington State bringing the industry into its next era. Alluvium is very much part of this exciting time. Like many young winemakers, they operate out of the warehouse district in Woodinville. It’s a small production and has things like live music in the barrel room (check out their Instagram account), and we’re here for it. This red blend is peppery with dark fruit and a hint of aged balsamic. The palate has a great balance of depth and acid. Pairs with… live music?
Average Price: $44
History Wine Red Blend 2020
Winemaker Melissa Burr seeks out historic and defining vineyards of the Pacific Northwest to express the unique sense of place this wine region provides. This red blend shows that kind of vibe with a fruit-forward nose and complex hints of earth. The palate has plush fruit with subtle tannins and good acidity.
Average Price: $45
Nalle Winery Ranch Red 2021
This is American wine history in a bottle. Before Cab ruled Northern California there was Zinfandel. The Nalle family legacy began with Zinfandel in the ‘20s in Dry Creek Valley, so they know the variety well. This wine is a blend of these two historic grapes and it’s amazing. The nose is earthy and rich with a slight floral hint. The wine has a superb palate with amazing structure and harmony.
Average Price: $48
Best Red Blends Under $100
Adelaida Vineyards and Winery ‘Anna’s Red’ 2021
This is the land of the Rhône Rangers, a group that started in the ‘80s promoting and planting Rhône varieties across California. So it only makes sense that a GSM blend would be delicious from here. Also, the Steenwyk family has been making wine here since the ‘80s, so they have it on lock. The nose is filled with blueberries and strawberries. It has a great palate with medium fruit and good acidity. Everything is in the right place.
Average Price: $50
KB by Knights Bridge Red Blend 2019
Knights Valley is one of the warmest microclimates in Sonoma. Here, six families came together to revive a neglected vineyard and the result was the Knights Bridge winery. This is a comfy wine with an earthy, mineral-driven nose. It has soft fruit and herbs with a subtle tannic edge on the palate. The acid balances out the wine and gives it a nice even finish.
Average Price: $51
Lieb Cellars Estate Meritage 2020
The pioneering Lieb Cellars has been a staple on the North Fork of Long Island for over three decades. This classic meritage blend is leathery with tobacco, cranberries, and cherries on the nose. The palate delivers Long Island’s signature refreshing acidity.
Average Price: $51
McPrice Myers Beautiful Earth Red 2021
This is a big blend, and coming in at 15.2% alcohol, it could be too much. But this is Paso fruit. The acidity keeps the more intense elements in check, making for a big round juicy wine. It has good earthy notes on the nose with prominent oak influence. The soft fruit, tannic structure, and acidity, keep it balanced for a wine so high in alcohol.
Average Price: $51
McIntyre Family Wines Per Ardua 2016
Coming from the windswept Arroyo Seco AVA in Monterey County, this red blend will sweep you away. It has an earthy nose with brambly fruit and hints of balsamic. On the palate, there’s a slight tartness, with acidity holding up the depth. It’s been in bottle since 2016 and is shining right now.
Average Price: $60
Cairdeas Winery ‘Caisléan an Pápa’ Boushey Vineyard Red 2021
Cairdeas Winery is located in Lake Chelan, but has a tasting room right in downtown Seattle. Pronounced Cadis, Cairdeas Gaelic for friendship, goodwill, or alliance and this is the energy Lacey and Charlie Lybecker bring to their wines and hospitality. They work primarily with Rhône varieties and this bottle is a great example of their vibe and skill. It’s earthy and brambly on the nose with a soft mouthfeel.
Average Price: $58
Halter Ranch Winery Ancestor 2020
Halter Ranch’s entire 2,700-acre property is the vision of founder and conservationist Hansjörg Wyss. The estate was founded on sustainable principles, with 200 acres of certified organic land under vine, and that philosophy translates to their wines. This wine is deep, earthy, and meaty with a nose of ripe blackberries. The palate shows an expert balance of fruit and acidity, giving it both depth and balance.
Average Price: $68
Louis M. Martini Mountain Red 2021
The Martini family is part of the fabric that makes up the history of Napa Valley. They’re renowned for their Cabernet Sauvignon, which is also great, but this right here is a testament to American wine history. A mountain blend harkening back to the days of field blends but with a modern, skilled touch. It has spiced oak and red berry fruit on the nose. The palate is excellent with concentrated fruit notes and well-integrated oak flavors carrying through. The richness of the wine is balanced by great acidity.
Average Price: $65
Flora Springs Trilogy 2021
This is the second time we have listed this wine. It just keeps getting better. The red blend category may be new in the social consciousness, but Flora Springs has been doing it for a long time and this is their flagship wine. It has a big nose with bold fruit and black peppercorns. The palate is excellent with grippy tannins and just enough acidity to keep the wine even.
Average Price: $100
Best Red Blends Over $100
Bien Nacido Estate Succession 2021
The Bien Nacido Vineyard is one of the U.S.’s oldest cool-climate sites — and it’s also one of the most sought after. Founded in 1973 by the Miller family, the Bien Nacido Estate set out to develop a vineyard that would be among the world’s greatest. They have achieved this again and again. This wine sets a standard for the American example of a GSM (a blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre.) It’s a stunning wine with a meaty, earthy, peppery nose, the slightest hint of oak, and all bright red and black fruit. The palate is epic with amazing spices like pepper and herbs with a perfect medium body and just all-around balance.
Average Price: $125
Mount Veeder Winery Reserve Red Blend 2019
These vines hover over Napa Valley at up to 3,000 feet above sea level on terraced slopes, soaking up the sun and mountain air. Mount Veeder winery makes wines that will age for some time. This is one of those wines. It’s big and earthy with deep fruit and prominent alcohol that works for this type of blend. Tannins lie at the edge with good acidity to balance them out. This wine is still aging, but can be decanted and sipped now.
Average Price: $125
What is a Red Blend?
A red blend can be made by combining two or more grape varieties to help make a balanced and complex wine. In Europe each region has strict rules on which varieties are allowed in a blend, but in the U.S. and other countries outside Europe, winemakers have the freedom to blend any combination of grape varieties.
What Varieties Are Typically Used in a Red Blend?
It’s popular for red blends to emulate famous wine regions from Europe. For example, Bordeaux-style red blends made with some combination of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc are popular, and so are blends similar to what you might find in France’s Southern Rhône made with Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre, commonly called a GSM blend.
VinePair’s Tasting Methodology
Throughout the year, VinePair conducts numerous tastings for our popular Buy This Booze column, and wine and spirits reviews. Our mission is to provide a clear, reliable source of information for drinkers, providing an overview applicable to day-to-day buying and drinking.
Tastings are not typically conducted blind. In alignment with our reviews mission, we believe in purposefully tasting all products as our readers typically would, with full knowledge of the producer, the region, and — importantly — the price.
*Image retrieved from Igor Normann via stock.adobe.com