Looking for something that tastes special without an especially high price? Looking for that unique essence of a classic French wine, but don’t have access to an artisan wine shop? Enter Alexander Valley’s Homestead Red Blend.

Usually skeptical about red blends, I bought Alexander Valley’s Homestead Red Blend on a bit of a whim. And I’m glad I did.

About the Wine: This specific vintage includes 42%Merlot, 24% Zinfandel, 14% Grenache, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Mourvedre, and 6% Syrah. Contains 14% Alcohol. )Read more of the technical stuff here.)

Flavor Profile: Initially looking at the list of grapes inside the bottle, I was a bit overwhelmed and a bit worried: that’s a lot of stuff on that list and the last thing I want is a confusion of flavors on my palate. But what Alexander Valley has accomplished is a completely balanced and well-rounded blend that mimics some of the pricier French Bordeaux’s I’ve had.

It’s light on the palate with just enough tannins to give it some body (but not enough that you’re chewing your wine). Personally, I would call this a medium-dry wine with a medium-low acidity level. The fruit is subtle, comprising of berries plums, and cherries. It speaks well to the equal amount of spice and oak notes as each of these flavors dance on the tongue. But I think it’s the vanilla essence in the background that truly works to lighten and brighten this dark-colored red wine.

Food Pairing: The Homestead Red Blend definitely pairs best with a red meat. Because it is so light on the palate (and in the tummy), it’s also one of the rare rend wines that works well as a summer sipper.

I paired this wine with a nice piece of grilled veal tenderloin alongside a sweet summer salad consisting of caramelized onions, red pair, and a homemade vinaigrette.

More Info: Learn more about Alexander Valley Vineyards and purchase wines directly from their website. I purchased this particular bottle at Safeway (Priced: $24.99; Sale Price: $18.99).

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