Blend Is In: 5 Best Bottles
“Blends are a great way for winemakers to express their style,” says Philip Hughes, general manager at Sierra Vista Vineyards & Winery. “You can bring whatever grapes you want to the party to adjust dryness, acid, alcohol, tannin, body, fruitiness, and flavor.” Phil Maddux, owner/winemaker at Lone Buffalo Vineyards, agrees. “Europeans, who've been making wine for 2,000 years, know that blending generally results in a better and more consistent wine because it allows the winemaker to compensate for deficiencies in a vintage year or in a single varietal. In America, where we've only been making wine for 200 years, we’re just beginning to appreciate the advantages of blending.” Keep reading for five of our locally made favorites.
2019 Crazy Horse
Elevation 2800 RedAVAILABLE AT: Sierra Vista Vineyards & Winery, 4560 Cabernet Way, Placerville, 530-622-7221, sierravistawinery.com
Named for the vineyard’s elevation, this red wine has juicy aromas of plum, cherry, and raspberry along with dried flowers and notes of mountain forest pine. Rich and juicy on the palate yet smooth and delicious, it’s a mountain-grown vino of elevated quality and an “Editor’s Choice” from Wine Enthusiast.
2019 Crazy Horse
AVAILABLE AT: Lone Buffalo Vineyards, 7505 Wise Road, Auburn, 530-823-1159, lonebuffalovineyards.com
A proprietary blend of three wines from three of the world’s greatest, albeit disparate, wine regions—tempranillo (Spain), malbec (Bordeaux and Argentina) and syrah (the Rhone Valley)—results in a uniquely delightful vino featuring flavors of dark berries and juicy pomegranate. Bold, fruit-forward, rustic, and spicy, it’s a “crazy good blend” worth uncorking.
2021 Three Sisters
AVAILABLE AT: Helwig Winery, 11555 Shenandoah Road, Plymouth, 209-245-5200, helwigwinery.com
Meyer lemon and apricot dominate the palate with orange zest, brioche, coriander, and a lovely toasty finish in this wine that won “Best White Rhone Blend” at the 2022 San Francisco International Wine Tasting Competition. Comprised of marsanne, roussanne, and viognier grapes, and aged in French oak barrels for approximately 18 months, it’s incredibly food-friendly and pairs best alongside richer poultry and seafood dishes.
Four Corners Red Blend
AVAILABLE AT: Belledor Vineyards, 13391 Shenandoah Road, Plymouth, 209-680-6008, belledor.com
Featuring delicious aromas of baked pear, cranberry, and fresh strawberries on the nose; with flavors of cherry, violet, blackberry, pepper, and blueberries, this unique red blend is a combination of the “four corners” of the Belledor property—sauvignon blanc (45%), zinfandel (35%), tempranillo (10%), and barbera (10%)—and an exquisite expression of the vineyard’s wines. Fermented in a combination of American and French oak barrels, as well as stainless steel, it’s a lighter vino that’s perfect for any occasion.
2018 Estate Clone 877.4.369.362
AVAILABLE AT: Miraflores Winery, 2120 Four Springs Trail, Placerville, 530-647-8505, mirafloreswinery.com
This wine is an exquisite expression of Rhone varietals (grenache, syrah, mourvèdre, and petite sirah) blended to show respect for the tradition of the region, while maintaining a truly vivid expression of El Dorado terroir. “Clone” refers to the slight genetic variations of a single varietal, and the clones that Miraflores planted were chosen specifically for their ability to thrive in the area’s terroir. Elegant and sophisticated, each sip offers an impeccable balance of tannins, spiciness, fruit, and acidity.
by Megan Wiskus
Photos courtesy of their respective companies or organizations.