Why are Americans so afraid of blends? Our nation serves as a shining example of the power of the melting pot, gaining strength from our diversity. You'd think that we would be crazy for wines that expertly blend a number of varietals. We're not. Certainly in the cheap wine stratum, people accept that they'll be getting blended plonk for their pennies. At the other end of the spectrum, giant proprietary blends, especially from Italy and Australia (and Cali) are the most sought after reds. It's in the middle, where real, everyday wine drinkers purchase wines that blends are anathema. In my decade-plus experience selling wine, I've found general reluctance on the part of wine buyers when it comes to blends. White blends can tend towards the loony/loopy (see"Battle of the 'Poor Man's Conundrum'"10/08/08) putting too much in your mouth. Red blends, at least the well-made, well-balanced ones, tend to be synergistic affairs, with the wine's strength equalling more than a sum of its parts. All Bordeaux wines are blends, most Super Tuscans. In reality, Cali "single varietal" wines usually don't contain more than 75% of the stated varietal. One that recently hit my Tastemaker Radarscreen is the 2005 Flora Springs Trilogy, composed of cabernet sauvignon, merlot and cabernet franc, in true meritage style. This edition of this world-class master-blaster of power and grace marks Flora Springs 30th anniversary of fine winemaking. Exhibiting cassis and dark cherry on the nose, the palate is pleasured with black cherry, cocoa, coffee & toffee. A stunning red to be cellared and enjoyed over the coming decade. This Rutherford/Napa gem is a blend that Americans can proudly consume, proud of the diversity that abounds here in the Good Old U.S. of A. Robert Parker's Wine Advocate agrees, giving this vintage 93 points. Also, a little bird (parakeet, actually) just informed me that the 2005 Trilogy can be found hereabouts at a deep discount. Look upon it as a safe investment, if you will. Serve this wine with cuts from the recently slaughtered Bull Market.
Cheers, Buckley Wineholt