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September 23, 2016 Wine Pick of the Week

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Robs Red Blend Non Vintage web Picmonkey


2014 Rob’s Red Blend


Barnard Griffin

Washington State

Alcohol: 13.6%

Suggested Retail: $14

“A category that has grown substantially in recent years is blended red wines. In Europe wines are usually defined by their point of origin, but the U.S. wine industry has defined their products by the primary grape source for the juice in the bottle, with the location those grapes were grown (and the place where the wine was actually made) of secondary importance on the label. For instance, by law a California or Washington Cabernet Sauvignon would have to contain a minimum of 75% juice from that grape variety.

“American blended wines can contain juice from any combination of grapes. Vintners here often use grapes native to Bordeaux in wines that have evolved into a category known as ‘Bordeaux blends.’ Most familiar of these Bordeaux-born grape varieties are Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, but Malbec, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and (rarely) Carménère can also be used.

“Rob’s Red Blend, a wine made entirely from Washington grapes, contains several of those grapes native to Bordeaux, but also Syrah, another grape variety which has French ancestry. However, Syrah is grown in the Rhône Valley, not Bordeaux. For the record, the composition of Rob’ Red Blend is Merlot (54%), Cabernet Sauvignon (33%), Syrah (8%) and Malbec (6%). As such, this wine could not be considered a ‘Bordeaux blend,’ nor would it be eligible to be called a Meritage wine (a synonym for Bordeaux blend as defined by a winery trade association). That doesn’t make it necessarily lesser quality, just different. The winemaker, much like a chef, will use the combination of ingredients he believes will make the best product. Obviously, Rob Griffin has hit that standard as the 2014 vintage of his Rob’s Red Blend received a double gold recognition at the recent Cascadia Wine Competition.

“We found the 2014 Rob’s Red Blend to be soft and smooth with impressions of plums, cherries and raspberries. Though Syrah is a relatively small part of the bend by volume (6%), it makes its presence known via some spice and white pepper aspects. Before that mouthful of fruit fades there is a just a hint of mocha, which makes for more complexity.”

Food Affinity: “We think it would be a good pairing with roasted mallards or sprigs, but many red meats would work if you don’t have access to wild ducks. Grilled tri-tip would or slowly barbecued St. Louis ribs would be likely candidates.”


Editor’s Note: Wines reviewed for Taste California Travel are encountered by our staff in several ways. They can be discovered at trade tastings or visits to wineries. They may also be purchased by staff members for their own tables or be sent by wineries for possible review. This is an editorial feature, not advertising, and appearance cannot be secured by payment. More information can be had by contacting This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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