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Rhône wine

Essential Things to Know—Decoding Red and White Rhone Blends

A Rhône blend is a wine made from a blend of grape varieties typically used in the Rhône region of France. The most common Rhône blend is a Grenache-Syrah-Mourvedre (GSM) blend, but many other possible combinations exist. The Grenache provides body and fruitiness, the Syrah adds structure and tannins, and the Mourvedre adds acidity and depth of flavour.

The proportions of the grape varieties in a Rhône blend can vary greatly, and the resulting wines can range from light and fruity to rich and full-bodied. The style of the wine will also be affected by the specific grape varieties used, the terroir of the vineyard, and the winemaker’s techniques.

Rhône blends are usually named after the dominant grape variety, such as Grenache-Syrah or Syrah-Mourvedre. However, some producers will blend several different grape varieties and label the wine as a “Red Blend.”

Whether you’re looking for a light and fruity wine to enjoy or a full-bodied wine to pair with a hearty meal, a Rhône blend is sure to please.

In today’s article, let’s explore how to decode red and white Rhône blends. Here’s what you need to know:

Red and White Rhône Blends

If you’re a fan of French wines, then you’re probably familiar with the term “Rhône blend.” But what exactly is a Rhône blend? And how can you decode the red and white blends from the Rhône Valley?

A Rhône blend is a wine made from grape varieties typically found in the Rhône Valley of France. The most common red Rhône blend is a Grenache-Syrah-Mourvèdre mix, while the most common white Rhône blend is a Grenache Blanc-Roussanne-Viognier mix.

So, how can you decode the different red and white Rhône blends? Here are a few tips:

  • Pay attention to the grape varieties. As we mentioned, the most common red Rhône blend is a Grenache-Syrah-Mourvèdre mix. If you see a wine labelled as a “GSM” blend, you can be sure that it contains Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre.
  • Look for clues on the label. Many Rhône producers will include information on the label about the blend of grapes used in the wine. This can help decode the blend.
  • Ask your trusted wine merchant. If you’re still unsure about a Rhône blend, don’t hesitate to ask your trusted wine merchant for help. They should be able to point you in the right direction.

Red Grapes


Rhône red grapes are some of the most popular in the world. Syrah is one of the most well-known and widely planted of these grapes. It is a full-bodied, tannic grape used to make some of the most prized wines in the world.

Syrah is thought to have originated in the Rhône region of France. It is a descendant of the Mondeuse Blanche grape. The first recorded mention of the grape was in the 18th century. It was then known as “Shiraz” and was grown in the southern Rhône region.

The grape quickly became popular and was soon planted in other regions of France. It was also planted in other countries, such as Australia and Chile. In the 21st century, Syrah is one of the world’s most planted red grape varieties.


The Rhône Valley is one of the most important wine regions in France. It is home to some of the country’s most renowned wines, including the famous Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The Rhône Valley is known for its red grapes, including the Grenache.

The Grenache is a red grape that is native to the Rhône Valley. It is one of the most important grapes in the region and is used in various wines. Grenache wines are typically full-bodied and have high alcohol levels. They are also known for their spicy berry flavours.

The Grenache is a versatile grape used in many different wines. It is often used as a blending grape and is a key component in many of the region’s most famous wines. Grenache wines are typically medium to full-bodied and can be enjoyed young or aged.


Mourvèdre is a late-ripening grape and is often one of the last grapes harvested in the Rhône Valley. The grape thrives in warm and dry climates and is particularly well suited to the terroirs of the Southern Rhône Valley. Mourvèdre is often blended with other Rhône red grapes, such as Grenache and Syrah.

Mourvèdre wines are typically full-bodied, with high tannin levels and intense fruit flavours. The grape is known for its earthy, gamey aromas, and its wines can improve with age. Mourvèdre is an essential component of the wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape and is also used in the production of some rosés.

White Grapes


Viognier is a white grape most commonly associated with the Rhône Valley in France. It is also grown in other parts of the world, including Australia, Chile, and the United States. Viognier is a versatile grape that can make various wines, from light and refreshing to rich and complex.

The flavour profile of Viognier is unique and often described as floral and perfumed. There are also notes of apricot, peach, and citrus. Viognier is a full-bodied grape, and its wines are often rich and textured. When made properly, Viognier wines can be stunning.

One of the most important things to know about Viognier is that it is a very delicate grape. It is susceptible to a number of different problems, and it is often difficult to grow. This is one of the reasons that Viognier wines can be quite expensive.

Marsanne and Roussanne

Marsanne is a white wine grape native to the Rhône region of France. It is a versatile grape that can be used to make a variety of wine styles, from dry and crisp to rich and full-bodied. Marsanne is often blended with other Rhône grapes, such as Roussanne, Viognier, and Grenache Blanc.

Roussanne is another white wine grape that is native to the Rhône region. It is known for its honeyed, floral aromas and rich, creamy texture. Roussanne is often blended with Marsanne but can also be made into a single varietal wine.

Both Marsanne and Roussanne are great grapes for making food-friendly wines. They pair well with a variety of dishes, from seafood to poultry to vegetarian fare. If you’re looking for a white wine to enjoy with your next meal, consider a Marsanne-Roussanne blend or a single varietal of Marsanne or Roussanne.

Decoding Red and White Rhône Blends

Decoding red and white Rhône blends can be challenging but ultimately rewarding. By understanding the grape varieties and the regions they come from, you can develop a greater appreciation for these unique wines. 

By learning about the style of each wine, you can also find the perfect match for your taste. Whether you’re looking for a full-bodied red or a refreshing white, there is a Rhône blend out there for you.

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