For the love of all good wines

A handful of blended reds will impress any sweetheart

Mary Miles, owner of Arsenal Wine and Liquor.

Even the most particular wine consumers can be a little overwhelmed when presented with the many choices offered at any wine store. Much like a kid in a candy store, the selections can be exciting at first but overwhelming when trying to match one’s personal preference. Trying to determine what wines will be most pleasing by pairing what we know about wine with what most appeals to the taste buds is the best way to not overwhelm. Simply put, the wine world consists of two types of consumers: those who are seeking a sweet and fruity flavor and those who desire a drier, more subtle experience.

Fortunately, we live in area that produces some of the best wines, especially for those who prefer sweet and fruity wines. In fact, Northern New York wineries have produced some of the top-rated dry and sweet rieslings in the world. Sweeter reds and moscatos have been a favored choice over the past few years.
Blends are starting to become more and more popular and the selection of blends available locally continues to grow. Red blends have become a fast-growing category, and wine specialist Rodney Misch at Arsenal Wine and Liquor, Watertown, recommends a few of his favorites.

Dreaming Tree Crush, Troublemaker and Menage A Trois Red are some blended red varietals that aim to please.

Dreaming Tree Crush, a blend of merlot and zinfandel (67 percent merlot, 33 percent zinfandel) is one of his favorites. The smoky berry, raspberry jam blend makes it a great pairing with beef or a salad with a citrus mixture.

Troublemaker, a blend produced by Austin Hope, is a mix of syrah, mourvedre, grenache, and petite sirah. The result is a wine with a complex depth and a rich, lush body. Troublemaker has set the bar for both quality and value.

Ménage A Trois Red, a zinfandel-merlot-cabernet mix, is a great blended red wine even if red wine is not your speed, you need to give Ménage a Trois red a try. This wine exposes the fresh, ripe, jam-like fruit that is the calling card of California wine. Ménage a Trois Red brings together three strange bedfellows. On top we’ve got zinfandel, a saucy tease that brings blackberry and raspberry jam to the relationship; merlot with its generous mouth feel and red fruits fits in the middle, and rich flavors and firm tannins of cabernet sauvignon make it ideal.

Looking for a great blend to enjoy for Valentine’s Day?

14 Hands Hot to Trot Red (merlot, syrah, cabernet, mourvedre) from Chateau Ste. Michelle is a red blend from Washington State that opens with generous aromas of crème de cassis and sweet blackberries. Notes of wild huckleberries and pie crust nuance join dark fruit flavors. Balanced by soft and velvety tannins, this smooth easy-drinking wine finishes with hints of toast and mocha.

For the fun and romantic, drop some hearts in the bottom of a glass and choose a sparkling wine like Banfi Rosa Regale. The color of bright pink adds to your Valentine Day color scheme and accompanies chocolate very well. It is a red sparkling wine that is sweet and subtle with the lush flavors of ripe raspberry and juicy strawberry.

For the cozy and comfort, throw a log on the fire and cuddle up to a bottle of Three Brothers Local winery Lonesome Jazz Infusion. A blend of chamborurcin, cabernet franc, merlot and pinot noir give aromas of ripe cherry and vanilla that will permeate the glass of this wine.

Every now and then, you should step outside your comfort level and choose something different. Simply trying a wine from a different region or moving from a sweet wine to a semi-sweet, for example, can expose your palate to an entirely new brand or variety that you may really enjoy.

Enjoy life and drink good wine.