MARNIE: I doubt that. Many of the world's finest reds are blends of those three grapes. That wine was inspired by French Bordeaux, in which both the everyday wine and the pricey collector's items are blended wines. Some grapes do taste best alone, like pinot noir, but winemakers commonly use more than one grape in a single wine.
BUZZ: You mean they didn't add that stuff to water it down?
MARNIE: No. Just because a wine is a blend of different grapes doesn't mean it's poorly made.
BUZZ: So if a California red doesn't have a grape name on the front, it's mostly cabernet sauvignon?
MARNIE: Not exactly. Cabernet-merlot blends are among the most popular, certainly among luxury wines. Those are bordeaux-style blends, sometimes called "Meritage" in the U.S. But you'll also find Rhône-style blends using grenache or Syrah as the main grape. Zinfandel-based blends are hot now, too. Red wines from places like Chianti in Tuscany and Rioja in Spain also are blends but based on their own native grapes.
BUZZ: Geez, sounds complicated. I'll stick to my favorite blend - Mad Dog 20/20 and Coke.
Marnie Old is Philadelphia's highest-profile sommelier. She has designed wine lists for restaurants like Parc and Bar Ferdinand. Her latest book, "Wine Secrets," is a collection of wine advice shared by top wine professionals. Marnie consults for the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board and is an adviser to the beverage trade. Check out her blog at sauceblog.marnieold.com. Buzz's musings are interpreted by Daily News City Editor Gar Joseph.