- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Morgan, “Cotes du Crow’s” Syrah/Grenache, Monterey, 2007, $20

Because Americans tend to identify wine by grape varietal, we often are suspicious of blends, thinking that wines made with a mix of grapes have to be somehow less interesting than those fashioned with just one. Nothing could be further from the truth. Some of the world’s finest wines contain a melange of grape varieties, and even many identified as single varietals actually contain some juice from other grapes.

This juicy red from California illustrates the advantages of blending. It includes 55 percent syrah, a variety that gives it a ripe fruity character, and 45 percent grenache, one that adds a spicy edge. Because syrah tends to be the richer, more exuberant of the two, the grenache also acts as a calming influence, tempering the wine and making it enjoyable even while youthful.

Although modeled on southern French red blends, “Cote du Crow’s” tastes unabashedly Californian, with ripe, sun-drenched fruit being its calling card. A delicious choice for summer cookouts, it will pair nicely with virtually anything coated with tangy barbecue sauce. If temperatures soar, don’t be afraid to pop it in the fridge for half an hour or so before opening it.

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