Definition: The Rhone region of France has a delightful selection of red varieties. There are 22 grapes allowed in the Rhone AOC, about half of them red. Most of these varieties are used as secondary blending partners, often comprising less than 10% of the blend. The primary red players of Rhone blends are Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre. Most wines from the Southern Rhone use Grenache as their primary grape, while Rhone blends in California, especially Monterey, like to change up the order, occasionally using a high percentage of Syrah or sometimes Mourvèdre. Wines from the Northern Rhone are Syrah-based, and if not 100% Syrah, the wine may have Viognier blended in for added color and aromatics. Typical wines termed "rhone blends" will have two or more grapes from the Rhone and occasionally, small percentages of the secondary varieties.
Flavor Profile: A spicy red wine with flavors of raspberries, spice, and vanilla.
Food Pairing: Rhone blends from Monterey are good with juicy, gamey meats and food with common French spices, like rosemary or herbs de Provence. Lamb, duck, Mexican food, root vegetables and stews are also good companions with this style of wine.