Originally Posted by agjiffy
I'm not a California wine fan, but this statement just isn't true. The French are as rigorous as anyone in the world about non-blending in white and red burgundy, and there are california wines that are considered world class (Harlan, for example) and are varietal blends of no fewer than three or four grapes.
The point is, the reason the french don't blend burg is not because they are wedded to the idea of the "varietal" but because it does not make for better wine (except at the low, low end). They have (obviously) no problem blending Bordeaux and Rhone, red and white, at every level of the quality chain because they know it makes for better wine and because there is no marketing rationale or consumer expectation that the wine all come from one grape.
In Napa, by contrast, the whole industry is built around the varietal and has been since the revival in the late '60s. Wines with one grape name on them are seen as more prestigious and you can charge more for them. The "meritage" concept tries to get around that but hasn't really taken root and they don't command the same prices.
So, there are some exceptions but by and large the top reds in Napa are varietals and all the way down the price chain you will see ten varietals for every meritage and the varietals will command generally higher prices. This is true even though, IMO, many of these wines would be better if they were blends.