Some of the greatest wines in California are a blend of various red grapes. The most successful blends follow the Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot recipes of Bordeaux, but with even more intensity.
These wines are typically luscious and strong with lots of ripe blackberry, black currant, and vanilla flavors.
The warm days and cool nights of the Napa Valley in Northern California make it the ideal place to make Bordeaux-style red wines. Although the wines of Bordeaux have historically been considered the best wines of the world, the bolder, richer, and more fruit-forward wines of California are now just as respected.
Just like Bordeaux, California’s dominant grape is Cabernet Sauvignon with its rich blackberry flavors. Merlot is added to soften the edges and add red fruit flavors. Cabernet Franc and Petite Verdot are even added at times for complexity. These California blends are very balanced and are great when they are young, but they can also age for decades.
Another popular blend is made from Grenache and Syrah. This style is a fuller and richer version of the wines of France’s Rhône Valley.