Wine Lists

Red blends to try

By Halliday Promotion

2 May, 2024

Curl up by the fire this winter with these four red blends. Perfect for pairing with food or drinking on their own, these wines are sure to delight.

Some of the world’s most famous red wines are blends, including France's Bordeaux, Italy's Super Tuscans, and Spain's Rioja. Red blends are created from various red grapes that are typically crushed and fermented separately, before being combined. This allows for a whole world of possibilities.

Every grape variety has its advantages and disadvantages, and blending often allows winemakers to make up for the shortcomings of a particular variety, or a vintage that resulted in smaller quantities. Below, you’ll find classic pairings such as the mourvèdre, grenache and shiraz blend from Grant Nash, or the shiraz cabernet from Kaesler, as well as less common, but no less complementary, couplings between varieties such as Garden & Field's cabernet sauvignon and refosco, and Longview's shiraz barbera blend.

Whatever the combination, each of the four wines listed below is packed with flavour. We asked the producers to tell us why they love red blends and the best ways to enjoy them. 

Garden & Field bottleshot

2019 Garden & Field Gnadenberg Road Cabernet Sauvignon & Refosco

Delicate and persistent aromas of cassis, violets, red licorice, bramble and blackberry fruits, with hints of pepper. The luscious berries have consumed most, but not all the French oak presence. The wine exhibits a tight and grippy tannin structure with a mouth-watering explosion of velvety fruit, black licorice, black plum and a hint of fennel. It's generous with intensity and depth.

Winemaker Peter Raymond says: This wine is a unique aromatic full-bodied blend for cabernet lovers at heart and those seeking an alternative. While Eden Valley cabernet is notorious for depth, aromatics, and hearty chocolate flavours, refosco drives the length with notes of cedar and violets. The vineyard is dry-grown and co-planted with the wine made at home on the Eden Valley vineyard estate, and within hours of hand picking.

H. How do you approach the winemaking process for this wine?
PR. Hand-picked wine grapes were destemmed and co-fermented as whole berries with daily hand plunging on skins for 14 days. The wine was basket pressed before transferring to seasoned French oak barrels for 24 months.

H. What do you love about making red blends?
PR. I love making red wine full stop. However, as a viticulturist my true passion is growing the grapes in the vineyard first. Although it requires a lot of patience, once the grapes are ready for harvesting my excitement shifts to making wine, and ultimately seeing the 'fruits of our labour' all come together. Making red wine blends can take a red wine to another level, add another layer, complexity, while giving more than would normally be possible in single wine varieties. I love straight cabernets and one day, when we have enough refosco grapes from the one-acre site, we will also make a single variety. But for now, the vineyard offers enough for us to enjoy a red wine blend, and we are pretty happy with the outcome.

Best enjoyed: We believe all wine is best with food, and as the hero in this blend is the Italian variety refosco...of course it is best enjoyed with food. Hearty ossobuco, lamb tagine, homemade pasta with lashings of ragu, squid ink risotto and Sunday roasts are just a few dishes we have enjoyed it with.

RRP $75 | Drink to 2034+ | | Shop this wine

Grant Nash bottleshot

2022 Grant Nash Mourvèdre Grenache Shiraz

AKA 'Dinner Wine'. Dark cherry, damson plum, cola, salted licorice, bitter chocolate, exotic spice and dried herb. Rich and complex with super fine tannins and a plush palate. A blend of 46 per cent mourvèdre, 35 per cent grenache and 19 per cent shiraz, the Dinner Wine is a modern take on the great southern Rhône blends which have inspired our winemaking journey. The mourvèdre is hand harvested from a dry grown block on deep Blewitt Springs sand. It’s dark and broody, yet displays the trademark perfume and finesse this sub region is known for.

Winemakers Sam Martin and Sophie Richards say: Grant Nash is an exploration into the deliciousness of McLaren Vale grenache and blends, with a focus on fruit purity and balance, texture and shape. Over 20 years of living and working in McLaren Vale has given us an innate knowledge of the region and access to many of the growers and vineyards that make it so special.  

H. How do you approach the winemaking process for this wine?
SM & SR. Our winemaking style is guided by the delicious fruit we source. Minimal interference, open fermentation, hand plunging and maturation in French oak puncheons to let the fruit shine though. 

H. What do you love about making red blends?
SM & SR. It’s the challenge to combine two, three or four different varietals to achieve perfect harmony so the vibrant fruit characters dance across your tongue.

Best enjoyed: While we are more than happy to drink the Grant Nash dinner wine without food, we do love to charcoal meat. The dark fruit really shines through when paired with charcoal lamb backstraps and rosemary butter, or try Brazilian style picanha skewers with a salt and pepper rub. This is how you treat yourself, because that's what life's all about!  

RRP $50 | Drink to 2034 | | Shop this wine

Kaesler bottleshot

2021 Kaesler WOMS Shiraz Cabernet

Deep crimson with dense purple hue. A bouquet of ripe blackberries and plums with some dark chocolate and toasty oak. On the palate, rich black fruits and delicate tannins. 

Chief winemaker Tim Dolan says: Since its inception in 2002, the Kaesler WOMS Shiraz Cabernet has only been made in exceptional vintages where we feel the quality is good enough to warrant the blend. The 2021 WOMS is the first vintage hailing from an 'odd' year, which may put a few noses out of joint. However, the vintage was too good to not make the blend!

H. How do you approach the winemaking process for this wine?
TD. The fruit is sourced from select old vine estate-grown parcels that have an inherent concentration and depth of fruit. We keep each component separate until time of bottling, whereby we will trial (and retrial) different blend percentages of each variety. The WOMS is deliberately made to age, and select parcels with high tannin structure always form the backbone of the blend.

H. What do you love about making red blends?
TD. For many of the wines within Kaesler's portfolio, we want the winemakers hand to be virtually unseen; our end goal is for the site to be as expressive as possible. Blending forces the winemakers hand to a degree, and once it is physically blended theres no undoing it. This added pressure raises anxiety levels, however it's highly rewarding to see the final result in bottle.

Best enjoyed: In my short time at Kaesler, I have found this wine is best enjoyed with significant bottle age. The winemaking team were lucky enough to open a three-litre double magnum of 2006 WOMS at an event last year, and it was just starting to show its true colours. This quintessential Australian blend gives ageability that is rarely rivalled. Best enjoyed with a good company, a Kaesler favourite is roast lamb over coal fire with winter vegetables.

RRP $90 | Drink to 2040 | | Shop this wine from May 18

Longview bottleshot

2022 Longview Vista Shiraz Barbera

The shiraz has all the hallmarks of cool-climate fruit – white pepper and baking spices with slight undertones of vanilla and cocoa – and the barbera adds pop with fresh blackberry lift. The palate is juicy to start, with a burst of red cherry brightness courtesy of the barbera, then gives way to a shiraz savouriness and taut acid backbone that gives the wine wonderful structure.

Winemaker Peter Saturno says: Longview’s Vista Shiraz Barbera takes the best of Australia and Italy and blends them together to create a harmonious, modern food wine. It is a fresh, lean wine right now but as we see with this unique blend, develops into a generous crowd pleaser. 

H. How do you approach the winemaking process for this wine?
PS. All fruit is hand-picked. Both varietals were destemmed and crushed before a cool, open co-ferment for 14 days. Maturation occurs in French oak hogsheads – third and fourth use – and bottled within 10 months.

H. What do you love about making red blends?
PS. Not every variety is perfect, especially when each year has different climatic conditions. The beauty of blends is you can improve on each variety’s pitfalls. Fruit, line, and structure can all be tweaked with different additions of each varietal in the blend. This moves the wine into a true reflection of the estate’s style and location.

Best enjoyed: Best with Italian foods, in particular tomato-based pasta sauces such as penne all'Arrabbiata or tagliatelle al ragù. Friday night footy, room temperature and even a decant makes this a sublime pairing. 

RRP $26 | Drink to 2030 | | Shop this wine