“Wine is valued by its price, not by its flavor.” … Anthony Trollope (English novelist 1815-1882)

OK, that’s a lot of words. But you have to appreciate the French for putting it all out there on the labels (most words are on the back label, with “Chateau Saint-Roche” and “Chimeres” appearing on the front).  It’s French.  Even if you’re new to wine, you get that from the word “Chateau”.  The region in France where the wine is made is the Languedoc Roussillon.  The sub-region (a smaller area within that area) is the Roussillon. And the appellation is Cotes du Roussillon Villages.  Chimeres is a red Rhone blend made by Saint-Roche.  You could probably get by just asking for a Saint-Roche, though learning what these areas mean is helpful.  For one thing, French wine is still a standard worldwide.  For another, you can get good French wine made in the Languedoc area with just budget friendly money being spent.

At less than $20 (and often $16), you get a lot of wine in the glass.  And this blend of (40%) Black Grenache, (30%) Carignan, (20%) Syrah and (10%) Mourvedre shows deep purple. It offers aromas of mocha, raspberry and violet with hints of provincial herb. The wine has medium plus body and plus, plus tannin. But despite all this rich dark fruit and ample tannin, the wine is surprisingly smooth and supple. Mr. Trollope (see quote above) obviously never tasted Saint-Roche. If you’re looking for a winter wine somewhat on the chewy side or something to go with beef, this is a good choice.  At 14.5% alcohol, which by French standards is high, this wine packs some heat that you’ll feel on the back taste with black pepper.  A great winter wine and a good value, Parker / Wine Advocate awarded it 92 points and I found it most interesting.  Imported by European Cellars, it’s an “Eric Solomon Selection”.  And if you’re not familiar with French wines, that’s another piece of information on the back label to look for.  Drink now, or obtain a more recent vintage.

……………… Jim

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