TO blend or not to blend...that is the question, or at least it could have been if Shakespeare was a winemaker rather than a playwright. It’s certainly the question faced by winemakers the world over year after year.

For some of them, such as the winemakers of Bordeaux, Chianti and the Rhone Valley, blending is the norm, for others around the world, it's often a chance to show their skill set off to its best with different grapes bringing various attributes to the mix in addition to making one or two signature single varietals.

For newcomers to wines and to blending, it's where you see multiple grapes on the label. Although the rule isn't always followed, generally the first grape named is the predominant one and so on.

Bordeaux's winemakers chose between a set of famous red varietals including my favourite, Cabernet, Mrs R’s favourite, Merlot, Mrs R’s other favourite (she has a few) Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. The poor wee devils in Chianti and the Rhone, on the other hand, have a bewildering array of grapes to select, although customer tastes have tended to ensure that they focus on a far smaller number.

For me, any blend involving Cabernet as the main partner is high on my list but I've become rather partial to the odd menage a trois led by Cabernet with either Merlot or Shiraz playing cuckold.

The key to my heart is a big, smooth blackcurrant-style wine with rounded but evident tannins and something interesting on the finish such as mint, cigar boxes or chocolate. If I'm really lucky, all three.

Anyway, here's a few cracking blends.

Chateau Lalene Cuvee Prestige, Bordeaux 2016

This is lovely. It’s one of the best value Clarets I've ever tasted with dark autumn fruits and a cool, almost restrained palate with silky tannins.

Oddbins £10.50

Journeys End, Pastors Blend 2019

I've tasted several variations of this gorgeous wine over the years but this is definitely the best. Cassis and dark cherries on the nose with multi-layered spicy fruit on the palate and it stars my three all-time favourites, Cab Sauv, Merlot and Cab Franc!

Noble Green Wines £13 mix six

Gerard Richardson. Follow on Instagram @richardsonsfinewines or Twitter @gerardfinewine