The search has been underway for six weeks and there is now a decision on a new "house red" to replace the 2005 Vina Alarba Old Vines Grenache that is now gone from the marketplace.
The winner, pictured here, is Ermitage du Pic St. Loup, a Coteaux du Languedoc wine that is currently in the market for an amazing $10 a bottle. A blend of mostly syrah and grenache with just a dollop of mourvedre the wine is a tremendous value at this price, and with a 10% case discount that makes it $9 a bottle.
Young and fruity on the nose with dark and red berries and dark plums on the nose, the taste hits you with the same but adds some black pepper and tannin to go with it. There's great acidity and more fruit in the finish. The wine is not overly polished and in this case that's a good thing. Probably not everyone's cup of tea but to me it is unique and delicious.
They were tasting this at the wine store and I liked it before I knew the price and before I turned the bottle around to discover that Kermit Lynch was the importer. Lynch is among the top importers in the country in my opinion and his selections nearly always agree with me.
The wine went great with a small strip steak and some veggies and it went great with some grilled chicken and rice the next night. Supplies are good but if they start to run low I have another case reserved.