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Katherine Donnelly: Blending in with the right crowd

Sometimes, there are occasions when it amounts to sacrilege to mix one grape with another and so lose out on the essence of a particular variety. On the other hand, it can be a virtue.

It's the reason why buying a wine made from a blend of grapes may be greater than the sum of the two, or more, parts.

Most famously, Bordeaux red is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The wines of southern France are popular because, in the main, Syrah and Grenache are easy soulmates. Châteauneuf-du-Pape can utilise 13 grapes if it so wishes.

While Rioja red only allows for Tempranillo, a lighter regulatory touch elsewhere in Spain sees it with a variety of other grapes, often to better effect.

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