Note: The article excerpted below was originally published in VinePair and can be found here.
“25 of the Best Red Blends”
by Keith Beavers
Bordeaux, Chianti, Rioja, the U.S. — hell, the entire new world of wine is centered around red blends. Although blending red grapes has been part of wine since antiquity, the category dubbed “red blends” is a relatively new phenomenon. So, how do we define what qualifies as a red blend?
In Europe, even though there are a lot of red blends, they are strictly regulated within appellations. If you make wine outside the region’s set of rules you cannot put said appellation on the label. Here in the States, and in most wine regions outside of Europe, the rules are much more lenient. A red blend is anything you want it to be without having to adhere to any guidelines. Creativity takes precedence. And with so many varieties to choose from within a given wine zone, the category allows winemakers to show that creativity. The wines often have evocative labels and names designed to linger in the memory with blends that can sometimes push the envelope a little.
Although the category has only been around for a short while, it has come a long way. The enormous number of wines we tasted this year shows us that we are just getting started. On this list, you will see wines that span from Northern California to the south of L.A. in Temecula Valley, and from the Texas High Plains to the Mid-Atlantic. This is definitely a category to keep an eye on. Here are the 25 best red blends to drink in 2023, tasted and rated.
Flora Springs 2019 Trilogy Wine Review Rating: 90
Perfect For: Dinner With The Parents, Steak Dinner, Winning Over the Boss
Drink If You Like: Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon , Merlot
The red blend category is a fairly recent trend in American wine, but Flora Springs has been making wine in this style for a few decades now. Not only that, but it’s their flagship wine. They have it done to a T. This wine is deep and soulful with concentrated fruit. In the calm depth of the wine, the inherent characteristics of the two cabs come through, adding a layer of quiet pepperiness. The weight on the palate is just right balanced by good natural acidity.
Our 2019 Trilogy marks the 35th vintage of our flagship red wine, a bottling that dates back to 1984 when our family decided to make the finest wine possible by selecting fruit from the highest quality blocks from our estate vineyards in Napa Valley. Back then it was one of Napa Valley’s first proprietary red wines, and we named it for the three Bordeaux varietals which made up the blend. Ever since, Trilogy has consistently earned more than 90 points from wine critics and is admired by fans both for its approachability and ability to age. Learn more about this wine.
The 2019 Trilogy marks the 35th vintage of our flagship red wine, a bottling that dates back to 1984 when our family decided to make the finest wine possible by selecting fruit from the highest quality blocks from our estate vineyards in Napa Valley.
Back then it was one of Napa Valley’s first proprietary red wines, and we named it for the three Bordeaux varietals which made up the blend. Ever since, Trilogy has consistently earned more than 90 points from wine critics and is admired by fans both for its approachability and ability to age.
The 2019 is a classic Bordeaux blend of estate-grown varietals dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon with a supporting cast of Malbec, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. Ripe and succulent, the wine sports flavors of cassis, currant and black plum shaded with notes of vanilla crème, black licorice, cola and sweet earth. Open textured with smooth tannins and a juicy, inviting finish, this Trilogy will reward cellaring for at least 15 years.
The early part of the 2019 growing season was defined by heavy rainfall which replenished reservoirs and gave the soils plenty of moisture. A long, warm summer featured few extreme heat events, and the typically foggy mornings set the stage for vibrant and expressive wines. Harvest was long and relatively mild, helping to preserve freshness and finesse in the fruit with extended hang time teasing out great color, structure and soft tannins. Crop volume was average to a little less than average. In the end, it was another amazing vintage yielding exceptional fruit with bright acidity and ample flavor and texture.
91 points, Wine Spectator “A plush fruit bomb, with waves of plum sauce, warmed cassis and cherry puree cruising through, laced with vanilla and ending with a creamy finish. For the hedonist crowd.”Read more.
94 points, James Suckling “Sweetly spiced nose of cherries, spiced plums, strawberries, vanilla and lavender. Full-bodied with firm, supple tannins and fresh acidity. Juicy, fruity and delicious with pretty spice and floral undertones on the long finish.”
94 points, James the Wine Guy “…comes across nicely and handsomely…this is an absolutely luminous, beautiful wine…” Watch the video tasting notes.
93 points, International Wine Review “This is the 35th vintage of this highly successful, flagship wine. A blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petit Verdot, 8% Cabernet Franc and 7% Malbec, it displays a deep garnet-purple color and offers up aromas of cassis, blackberries, and dark red cherries with hints of herbs, vanilla, and baking spices. It is full-bodied and fleshy with bold flavors and excellent concentration. Velvet-like on the palate, it has round firm tannins and a long finish. This wine will have a long life.”Read more.
Grade: A & Score: 93, IntoWine “Trilogy is one of the more famous blends made in Napa and this represents the 35th vintage! This vintage is a blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petit Verdot, 8% Cabernet Franc, and 7% Malbec. Deep garnet in color, mostly opaque and bright. The nose has black cherries, cassis, char, and slight milk chocolate and spices. Medium to full bodied. Medium plus tannins. Tingly acidity. On the palate, raspberries, cassis and some underlying char. Long finish with some chocolate notes. This is still young but should be good drinking over the next fifteen to twenty years. Nice on its own, this will work well with all but the lightest foods or seafood. Steak off the grill is a nice choice.”Read more.
Flagship Wines from Flora Springs Appetite for Wine “Opaque, inky garnet, almost black. Aromas of ripe blackberry, black cherry, plum, and toasty oak. On the palate, big, juicy blackberry and cherry, with vanilla, caramel, and hints of leather and oak. Rich, full body. Tannins are soft and smooth, with medium acidity. This is a big, bold wine that wants a grilled steak or lamb chops. The finish is smooth, with ripe blackberry jam, plum, and milk chocolate notes.”Read more.
A-, 1WineDude.com “A showy, flamboyant and tasty Guilty Pleasure pick.”Read more.
Working as a family and team, we have pledged to over-deliver on wine quality for more than 40 years. Now this dedication has been taken up by third generation family members Nat Komes and Sean Garvey. There is nothing more gratifying to us than hearing from our customers about how much they enjoy our wines. It makes everything we do worthwhile.
While our customers’ feedback is most important to us, we also appreciate it when our wines get noticed by wine critics, reviewers, and bloggers.
Accolades for 2017 Trilogy
93 points Blue Lifestyle “Deep garnet color; soft vanilla nose; silky smooth with soft plum, toast and vanilla new oak; elegant, lush and showing spice and notes of mocha and chocolate, long and balanced.” January 2020
93 points James Suckling “A soft and fruity red with currants, chocolate and hints of toasted oak. Medium to full body. Round tannins and a flavorful finish. Nicely done for the vintage. 80% cabernet sauvignon, 17% petit verdot and 3% malbec. Drink or hold.” February 2020
91 points Jeb Dunnuck “The 2017 Red Blend Trilogy checks in as a blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Petit Verdot, and 3% Malbec. It’s a pretty, elegant wine from this estate and has lots of beautiful black and blue fruits, roasted herbs, chocolate, and gravelly earth-like aromas and flavors. These all carry to a medium to full-bodied blend that has terrific balance, nicely integrated acidity, and a great finish.” February 2020
Wine time: Flora Springs Trilogy 2017, Napa Valley The Augusta Chronicle “…a blockbuster wine, bold and powerful but drinkable upon release. And with a little bit of age it gets even better. The Flora Springs Trilogy 2017 – just released this week – is 80 percent cab, 17 percent petit verdot and three percent malbec. The grapes come from three prestigious regions in Napa: Oakville, Rutherford and St. Helena.
It is a gorgeous deep garnet in the glass with aromas of plum and herbs. Among the complex flavors on the palate I could pick out black plum, black cherry with hints of cola and mocha.
The wine doesn’t overpower, though. With sleek tannins and crisp acidity the wine stays fresh and perfect for matching to food….The wine is so great now, it’s hard to imagine what it will be like if it continues to improve in the bottle. The winery says it should be at its peak between now and 2028. Besides Trilogy, the winery produces several tiers of outstanding wines. The Napa Valley series includes a cab, a merlot, a chardonnay and a sauvignon blanc. They also produce several single vineyard cabs, and a number of artisanal wines that include a barrel fermented chardonnay.”Read more.
—Dennis Sodomka, February 2020
96 points Creators Syndicate “Trilogy was one of the first Bordeaux-style proprietary blends from the Napa Valley when it was introduced 30-some years ago, and it was one of the best of the genre at the time. I am happy to report nothing has changed. One of Napa’s iconic Bordeaux blends, Trilogy 2017, is another masterpiece. Beautifully balanced, with layers of dark fruits, a note of graphite and a beautiful touch of oak vanillin, this is a wine to lay down in the cellar for another 10 to 12 years, though it is remarkably pure, smooth and satisfying at this early stage.”—Robert Whitley, March 2020
Score: 8.5 – 9 VINOGRAPHY®: a wine blog “Dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of dusty roads and cedar. In the mouth, black cherry, cola and blueberry notes mix with a touch of black olive savoriness. Faint, taut tannins buff the edges of the palate, as the wine lingers with notes of olive and licorice. A blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Petit Verdot and 3% Malbec.” March 2020
93 points Good Vitis “…Flora Springs was founded in 1978, but its Napa Valley property was first planted with vineyards in the late 1800s so the terroir is for real (it has been replanted since). I’ve had several vintages of the Trilogy and they all deliver. Tasting note:The potent nose offers scorched earth and graphite-infused blackberry, black plum, violet, kirsch and dark chocolate ganache. It is full bodied, balancing lush, smooth and broad tannin with juicy acidity. The balance is really on-point. Flavors include blackberry, coconut, (real) maraschino sauce, black pepper, teriyaki sauce and cigar tobacco. It has a strong core of wet earth minerality. This is nice now with an hour decant, but I imagine it’ll start hitting its stride in five years and drink nicely for the following five to ten.” May 2020
Wines For The Man In Your Life South Florida Reporter/MoreAboutWine.com “Cabernet sauvignon, petite verdot and malbec got into this very smooth, approachable wine from Napa Valley. Cherry and cassis with some cherry and spice.”Read more. June 2020
Best Samples for 2020 DallasWineChick.com “2017 Flora Springs Trilogy wine — Flora Spring’s flagship wine is made from estate vineyards and dates back to 1984 when it was one of Napa’s first proprietary red blends. The 2017 is a blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Petit Verdot, and 3% Malbec. It’s big, bold and satisfying with notes of black fruit, mocha, cassis, chocolate, spice and vanilla.”Read more.
—Melanie Ofenloch, June 2020
Noted Napa sommelier Christina Stanley explains why she loves and recommends our flagship red wine, Trilogy.
Trilogy dates back to 1984 when our family decided to make the finest wine possible by selecting the highest quality wine lots culled from our estate vineyards in Napa Valley. Back then it was one of Napa Valley’s first proprietary red blends, and today this Bordeaux-style wine continues to be sourced from our own Komes-Garvey estate vineyards.
There is nothing more gratifying to us than seeing or hearing about someone enjoying one of our wines. Though we’ve been making wine for forty years, we still get a thrill when a Wine Club Member tells us about serving Flora Springs wines at a special occasion or as an accompaniment to a home-cooked meal. It makes everything we do worthwhile.
While our customers’ feedback is our number one priority, we also appreciate it when our wines get noticed by critics and reviewers who write for magazines, newspapers and blogs. Since releasing our 2016 Trilogy in February we’ve been excited to see a chorus of positive reviews, some of which we’d like to share with you.
Accolades for 2016 Trilogy
92 points Wine Spectator “Warm plum, raspberry and blackberry fruit is lush in feel, carried by bright anise and apple wood accents through the juicy finish. A good brambly underlay throughout adds energy. Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Malbec. Drink now through 2029.” —James Molesworth, August 2019
97 points Creators Syndicate
“This is the flagship wine from the Komes-Garvey family that owns Flora Springs. It was among the first proprietary Bordeaux-style blends produced in the United States and arguably has long been among the best. Yet it remains a bargain, maybe even a steal, at today’s price of less than $100 a bottle. Rivals that came along at about the same time retail at far higher prices. This vintage is cabernet sauvignon dominant, with petit verdot and malbec fleshing out the “trilogy” blend. Beautifully structured and precise, it offers plush, ripe dark fruits, exquisite tannins and hints of mocha and oak vanillin on the finish. A stunning wine at a stunning price (relative to similar blends from the Napa Valley) that can be consumed now or cellared for another 15 to 20 years.”Read more.
—Robert Whitley, June 2019
93 points Blue Lifestyle
“Deep, dark ruby color; smooth, rich and intense with concentrated flavors; ripe plum, spice and subtle hints of herbs and earth; excellent now, but in a few years this will be a knock out.”Read more.
—Anthony Dias Blue, June 2019
Wines For Father’s Day Gifts MoreAboutWine.com “…if dad collects wine or has developed an appreciation for better quality wines, by all means give him that expensive Bordeaux or the cult cabernet sauvignon from California. Give him a wine that he wouldn’t buy because he’d feel guilty spending the money…
This Bordeaux style red blend is crafted from Flora Springs Estate Vineyards. This elegant blend features notes of cassis, cedar and graphite in a delicious mélange of cabernet sauvignon, petite verdot and malbec. For the impatient father who can’t wait for a wine to age.” Read more.
—Tom Marquardt and Patrick Darr, June 2019
Sip and Grill…Red Wines to Pair with your next Barbeque Grape Experiences
“…Simply stunning is Flora Springs Trilogy Red Wine 2016. Considered Flora Springs’ flagship wine due to the fact that it dates from 1981 when the “family decided to make the finest wine possible by selecting the highest quality wine lots culled” from their estate vineyards. Even today, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Petit Verdot varieties are sourced from their premium Komes-Garvey estate vineyards. Aged for 20 months in French and American oak, each sip was a gift. Aromas of cherry cola, vanilla, dark chocolate and cinnamon toast led to flavors of spice, black pepper, dark red fruit compote, crushed blueberries, raspberry jam and anise. Remember that peppery rib-eye right off the grill? This wine will be the ultimate pairing.”Read more. —Cindy Rynning, June 2019
91 points Boozehoundz
“Most every major Cabernet Sauvignon producer in Napa has their flagship wine and for Flora Springs, it is Trilogy, which first appeared in 1984. Trilogy has an emphasis on New French Oak and if you love that luxurious, smooth, comforting type of wine, this certainly will play well on your table. The fruit comes from Oakville, St. Helena, and Rutherford so though subtle, it offers some of the best grapes from quality growing regions.
The 2016 iteration offers up rich black berry, blueberry, boysenberry and black cherry notes, along with vanilla, white pepper, cinnamon and subtle notes of amber, sugared almonds and black strap molasses, chaparral and cocoa. Trilogy is comprised mainly of Cabernet Sauvignon, with just 8% Petite Verdot and 6% Malbec. Aged 20 months with mostly French Oak it accentuates what many Napa Cabs strive for, a balance on fruit, food and place.” Read more.
—Michael Cervin, April 2019
A Trio of Wines from Flora Springs Pull That Cork
“…dark ruby in the glass with initial aromas of caramel, and earthy dark fruit. Flavors blackberries, blueberries and dusty earth combine with a core of slate-like minerality. Tannins are grippy and well integrated with the flavors in this juicy, medium-bodied red wine.
Once again, the blending skills of winemaker Paul Steinauer are on display in this lively wine. Since 1984, Trilogy has been Flora Springs’ flagship red wine. It is made from the best lots sourced from estate vineyards in St. Helena, Rutherford and Oakville. It is aged for 20 months in 87% French oak and 13% American oak. Braised short ribs and silky mashed potatoes with roasted carrots would be a divine pairing with this lovely red blend. It deserves a meal prepared with as much care as went into the making of this wine
If it is important to you to support family-owned wineries then Flora Springs is a winery to consider. Wines from Flora Springs are widely available if you can’t make it to Napa Valley for a visit.”Read more. April 2019
“I’ve been impressed with each vintage I’ve tried of Trilogy, an excellent, cabernet sauvignon from Flora Springs. The 2015 vintage, which we enjoyed on #CabernetDay, was a bold, yet balanced wine. Today, we’re going to enjoy the 2016 vintage of this flagship wine:
This wine is mostly cabernet sauvignon (86%) blended with small amounts of malbec (6%) and petit verdot (8%). The fruit was grown in St. Helena, Rutherford and Oakville. Following fermentation, the wine was aged for 20 months in a combination of French (87%) and American (13%) oak barrels. It comes in at 14.5% ABV.
The wine showed a dark ruby almost opaque color. Blackberry, cherry, loganberry, raspberry, cassis, dark chocolate and oak all arrived on the complex nose. Blackberry, cherry cola, vanilla, raspberry, cassis, licorice, eucalyptus and oak on a palate that started with dark berry fruit and ended with an herbal finish. The wine exhibited great structure and length, and was quite tannic. This wine would be ideal now for enjoyment with a seared dry-aged ribeye after decanting.”Read more. —The Nittany Epicurean, March 2019
“…this continued to impress. Different than last year, but very impressive. I got notes of black cherry, mocha, cassis, licorice, dark chocolate, vanilla, herbs, spice and elegance. Velvet is a great descriptor for this wine.
The 2016 trilogy is the 32nd release of its flagship wine. Trilogy was first made in 1984 when the family selected the highest quality wine lots from estate vineyards from traditional Bordeaux varietals. The 2016 is a blend of 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Malbec and 8% Petit Verdot. Most of the grapes were grown on the Komes family’s ranch which surrounds the Flora Springs Estate in St. Helena (though the vineyard straddles the St. Helena/Rutherford AVAs), though a small portion came from the family’s Crossroads Ranch in the Oakville AVA.”Read more.
—DallasWineChick.com, March 2019
92 points International Wine Report
“The 2016 Trilogy is modern styled, massive red from Flora Springs, composed of 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Malbec, 8% Petit Verdot. It instantly bursts open with aromas of crème de cassis, blueberries, baking spices, cocoa powder, violets, mocha and sweet toasty oak all coming together. Full-bodied and voluptuous with layer upon layer of sweet ripe fruits and sweet spices enveloping the palate as it heads into the long, plush finish. The 2016 will be open for business upon release and should also continue to provide years of drinking pleasure.”Read more.
—J. D’Angelo, March 2019
Maxine Lee of Drink Good, Live Well launches her Monday Wine Q & A with our 2016 Trilogy: “…what I enjoy most about this wine is the black cherry and licorice just really great your nose, preparing you for an exceptional drinking experience…” March 2019
2016 Trilogy Review Wine Weirdos “…the fruit is very high, high, high quality, the oak is pretty…built to age, but California Cab lovers – you can drink it now…”
Top 12 Best Wines Winter 2019 GO – WINE
“This is a full bodied, juicy medium dry, silky wine…We loved the long creamy finish. We recommend it served with grilled rosemary-sprinkled lamb chops or creamy polenta with a sprinkle of Parmesan. We enjoyed it with delicious aged Gouda.”Read more. February 2019
Grade: A, Score: 94 Into Wine “Purple in color. The nose has cassis, cherries and spice. With air some plums come out. On the palate, this has a lovely texture. Lots of juicy black currants, with black raspberries. Firm tannins. Nice balance…It will go well with a lot of medium or heavier foods but certainly steaks and roasts. If opening now, a 3 hour decant is a good idea.” Read more. January 2019
Flora Springs Releases 2016 Trilogy: An Accessible Napa Cab Blend Wine Predator “My first thought of the 2016 vintage is that it is plush and enjoyable right away, which isn’t always the case with a new release of a Napa wine built on cab. While you could lay this wine down for awhile, it is tempting now and it is impressive for any celebration to drink when that occasion arrives. Balanced with fruit on the front of the palate and lingering minerals on the back. A nice roundness throughout the palate with sage and black licorice adding complexity.”Read more. January 2019
91 points “This is a big and rich red with lots of dried-fruit and chocolate character. Full body, velvety tannins and a flavorful finish…Bigger style of Trilogy. A blend of 86 per cent cabernet sauvignon, eight per cent petit verdot and six per cent malbec. Drink or hold.”
—James Suckling, November 2018