Wine Lists

Red blends to try

By Halliday Promotion

27 Apr, 2023

From the classics to the less conventional, here are 12 red blends to try.

From France’s Bordeaux and Châteauneuf-du-Pape to Italy’s Valpolicella and Super Tuscans, some of the world’s most iconic red wines are blends. 

Below, you’ll find classic bedfellows such as shiraz and cabernet sauvignon, plus less obvious, but no less complementary, couplings between varieties such as shiraz and pinot noir. Whatever the combination, each of the 12 wines listed below is packed with flavour. 

We asked the producers to tell us about their blends and the best ways to enjoy them. 

Kaesler bottle shot

2020 Kaesler Avignon Grenache Mourvèdre

Named after the town of Avignon in the Châteauneuf-du-Pape region in France, famous for making GSM blends. Medium bodied, this blend of grenache and mourvèdre has an ensemble of red and black berries on the front and middle palate, with hints of savoury spice on the finish.

Winemakers Tim Dolan and Stephen Dew say: At Kaesler we practice ‘regenerative farming’ to not only sustain the environment but improve it. This has enabled us to source fruit for this special blend from vines with an average age of 90 years. This wine is a blend of 75 per cent grenache and 25 per cent mourvèdre and has been made in an approachable style that is ready to drink now or cellar for 10 years.  

Best enjoyed: This wine goes perfectly with slow-roasted pork or lamb with vegetables. It can also be enjoyed slightly chilled in the warmer months. 

RRP $40 | Drink to 2030 |

Kyneton Ridge bottle shot

2022 Kyneton Ridge Cabernet Shiraz

An approachable wine for when you are looking for that 'not too heavy, not too light' alternative. Great with food. A good balance of tannin and acid. 

Winemaker Patrick Wood says: This is a blend made with a purpose. It was conceived as a wine to accompany food in the southern European tradition. The Macedon cool climate cabernet has a lightness, but with great acidity, tannin and structure. When married with the very approachable, soft and fruit sweet Heathcote shiraz you have a wine that is perfect for food. 

Best enjoyed: Over a meal with friends. It is the made to enhance your favourite European foods like pasta, pizza and paella. This wine is made to be enjoyed now but will reward cellaring. 

RRP $30 | Drink to 2030 |

Medhurst bottle shot

2021 Medhurst YRB

Highly aromatic florals, blue and red fruits, lovely spices. The pinot noir component gives the wine the red fruit and the framework of tension/structure while the shiraz adds plump, soft blue fruits, juiciness and charm to the blend. 

Winemaker Simon Steele says: Influenced by the blending of these two varieties with great success in the Hunter Valley, the first YRB was bottled in 2015 and was an immediate crowd favourite for its electric purple colour, floral fragrant nose and juicy slippery palate. The single vineyard wine is made from two blocks, but also two varieties, so the main focus to begin with is picking date, as we needed to pick the shiraz within 48 hours of the pinot noir to ensure co-fermentation.  

Best enjoyed: At about 16–18 degrees with shared plates of fresh seasonal foods. Spice is not a problem as the wine is so juicy and mouthwatering. Drink anytime over the next few years, but we have sense that this will be a lovely savoury balanced wine eight years on. 

RRP $45 | Drink to 2030 |

Metala bottle shot

2021 Metala White Label Shiraz Cabernet

On the nose is an abundance of sweet plums, ripe blackberry and red current with hints of jubes and red licorice. The palate is both generous and elegant with cabernet-driven dark fruits and a touch of white pepper. The tannins are firm, with lovely natural acidity that balances well with the fruit sweetness. 

Winemaker Jim Urlwin says: Each year the blend of shiraz and cabernet sauvignon is assessed based on the fruit we see in the winery. The 2021 vintage is a blend of 80 per cent shiraz and 20 per cent cabernet sauvignon. The iconic White Label collection is sourced from parcels of fruit throughout the Metala single vineyard and represent the power and expression of Langhorne Creek. 

Best enjoyed: Enjoy with big flavours like slow-cooked barbecue ribs. 

RRP $20 | Drink 2028–2033 | 

Mount Benson cab merlot bottle shot

2018 Mount Benson Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot

The two thirds cabernet sauvignon and one third merlot pairing bring together the richness of both varieties, separating it from most other cab merlot pairings out there. Typically cool climate, exhibiting balanced tannins, dark rich fruit flavours of plum and black currant, and a hint of mocha with floral aromas. 

Winemaker Brian Nitschinsk says: The cabernet and merlot grapes were field blended before being lightly crushed, destemmed and small bin fermented. Each bin received a mix of hand plunging and gentle pump overs, before being rested to French oak barrels for almost 18 months. The wine in barrel showed exceptional flavour development and will develop further with time in the bottle. 

Best enjoyed: Being cool climate, this wine can be enjoyed with a range of lighter meals typically served during winter. My favourite is rosemary and garlic-infused eight-hour slow-cooked leg of lamb with roast veggies.

RRP $35 | Drink to 2030 |

Oakdene bottle shot

2022 Oakdene Bellarine Peninsula Field Blend

80 per cent shiraz and 20 per cent merlot. Bright magenta in colour with a highly perfumed bouquet of red cherry, dried cranberry and spice. Light bodied and fresh, with acidity and fruit driving the palate, raspberry, soft pippy tannin, and spice to close. 

General Manager Steven Paul says: The aim is to produce a light dry red that is approachable, unpretentious and fun, with bright colour, low tannin and expressive fruit. This is achieved by pressing off the fruit early and transferring to a stainless steel tank. This maintains bright vibrant colour, and a softer tannin profile. The wine is then blended and bottled early in the same year as vintage, to capture the youthful early drinking style.  

Best enjoyed: Best served in a large glass just below room temperature, or even slightly chilled, to accentuate the bright expressive fruit notes. Decanting is not required for such a youthful style. Food matches include charcuterie, soft cheeses, or light dishes such as quiche and salad. 

RRP $24 | Drink to 2026 |

Soumah bottle shot

2020 Soumah The Butcher | Thomas Hendy Cut

This wine displays a vibrant and inviting purple-red colour. On the nose, Heathcote syrah and Yarra Valley cabernet sauvignon deliver fresh red and black berries and a diverse array of dried herbs while nebbiolo completes the picture with fresh roses. On the  palate, it’s juicy and youthful while carrying enough fine tannins to last decades.

Winemaker Scott McCarthy says: I love this blend, here we combine the finesse of the Yarra Valley and the depth and richness of Heathcote. The syrah delivers the fruit, the cabernet infuses a savoury focus and the nebbiolo brings it all together with elegant structure.    

Best enjoyed: Enjoy this wine with a hearty chunky beef pie or slow-cooked lamb shanks with mash. Serve in a large red wine glass at about 15 degrees celsius – so you may need to pop it into the fridge for fifteen minutes to bring the temperature to the right level for optimum enjoyment. 

RRP $50 | Drink to 2030 |

Tellurian bottle shot

2021 Tellurian GSM

Heathcote’s warm days, cool nights and ancient Cambrian soils bring out the best in these varieties, the backbone of the Rhône Valley reds. Medium-bodied, Tellurian GSM balances the softness and elegance of grenache with structure and savoury characters of shiraz and mourvèdre.

Winemaker Tobias Ansted says: The focus for this wine is on the the fruit expression and the winemaking is kept fairly simple. Grenache provides lift and silky tannins, shiraz gives mid-palate weight and the mourvèdre length and a savoury finish. 

Best enjoyed: To show the wine at its best, and if you have the patience, some gentle decanting prior to drinking can really enhance the aromatic potential of this wine.  

RRP $38 | Drink to 2030 |

Vignerons schmolzer and brown bottle shot

2021 Vignerons Schmölzer & Brown Prêt-à-Rouge

A cheerful dark ruby hue. Then, a brightly fruited nose with ripe black cherry and blood plum, then some crimson florals and a thread of smallgoodsy oak. The palate weaves a loose plushness in with some pleasing savoury fineness, making this wine particularly complex for its price.

Winemakers Tessa Brown and Jeremy Schmölzer say: Our Prêt-à-Rouge has always intended to communicate something about the intrinsic qualities of Beechworth’s famed red wine structure, in an accessible, earlier drinking frame. We work hard to over-deliver on succulence and approachability while still boasting classic Beechworth shape and savoury length with this blend of syrah and pinot noir. 

Best enjoyed: This is the perfect pizza or pasta wine. We’d love it to be enjoyed without it being the centre of attention, and for it to disappear quickly and have you reaching for another. If half the table wants shiraz and the other half wants pinot, everyone will be happy with this guy. 

RRP $33 | Drink to 2026 |

Wirra Wirra bottle shot

2021 Wirra Wirra Church Block Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz Merlot

On the nose, sweet and fragrant red currants, dark cherries and blackberries sit comfortably with aromas of dark chocolate, cinnamon and nutmeg. On the palate, blood plums, cranberry and licorice combine with polished tannins to give a supple, even mouthfeel with a fine-grained finish. A vibrant line runs the length of the palate, balanced by richer elements as of roasted meats, burnt butter and sage.

Senior winemaker Emma Wood says: Church Block was created by Greg Trott, with the first vintage made from the 1972 vintage. It has a cult-like following, famous for its balance and approachability on release and the ability to age gracefully in the cellar. 2021 exemplifies the Church Block style, with cabernet leading the nose and the structure and shiraz filling out the mid-palate with plush generosity.  

Best enjoyed: Church Block will look better after a quick decant, but the most important serving suggestion is to share it with great people. 

RRP $25 | Drink to 2038 |

Zema bottle shot

2018 Zema Estate Cluny Cabernet Merlot

Medium bodied with a lovely round, juicy, fruit-forward palate and lingering soft finish. It has a vibrant deep red hue, and an aroma of warm black fruits, cherry and subtle hints of French oak.

Winemaker Joe Cory says: If you’re looking for a medium-bodied red, it’s hard to go past Cluny. It’s the ideal “Bordeaux blend” – with a juicy palate and lingering soft finish. Our Cluny has complexity and depth derived from the blending of four grape varieties: cabernet sauvignon (68 per cent), merlot (18 per cent), malbec (7 per cent) and cabernet franc (7 per cent).

Best enjoyed: Enjoy a glass with home-cooked Italian dinners, or pair it with richer meats like lamb shanks and pork belly. It’s a great wine for a chilly autumn night by the fire. 

RRP $24.99 | Drink to 2030 |

Mount Benson bottle shot

2019 Mount Benson Estate Syrah Cabernet Sauvignon

Our 2019 Syrah Cabernet Sauvignon is typically cool climate – vibrant plum, lifted mint, cherry and dark chocolate, firm but dusty tannins, with long palate weight. A rich balanced wine that matches fabulously well with red meats, game, herbed chicken parcels, black forest cake, and blue cheese.  

Winemaker Brian Nitschinsk says: This wine is a blend produced from our 2019 syrah (two thirds) and cabernet sauvignon (one third) grapes, vinified separately. Both batches of grapes were destemmed with a minor crush to give a more whole berry ferment, rested on skins for two months, before being gently pressing to tank and racking to rest in French oak (36 per cent new) barrels for 18 months. 

Best enjoyed: Being cool climate, this mid-weight syrah cab can be enjoyed with a range of typically winter fair. My preference is lamb chops and veggie casserole. Throw a few mutton chops, heaps of veggies and herbs and spices to taste ( salt pepper, paprika, cumin, oregano) in the slow cooker in the morning on low heat. Decant if you have time and then sit down an enjoy your dinner and wine with family and friends.

RRP $35 | Drink to 2035 |