Saturday, November 20, 2010

A Wine Mystery

Yesterday was a strange day and there was a strange little wine to help it along. I left work early and not having anything planned for dinner I wandered through the market. The folks in the wine department were busy opening cartons and stocking the shelves with new wine that the manager had ordered. When they came to the wine pictured above everyone let a groan - another "critter" label.

The wine in question was a 2008 Le Loup dans la Bergerie, a French vin de pays du val de Monterrand from the south of France. In other words, a French country wine from Monterrand. None of the four of us had ever heard of this wine which my rudimentary French translated as The Wolf in the Sheep Pen. The staff jumped on the internet and found only a French site that even Google refused to translate. A quick check of the U.S. importers web site found no mention of this wine. A quick call to the distributor could only produce an office helper who knew nothing about the wine.

Question of the day - What's a group of wine geeks to do when they encounter this situation? Answer of the day - Immediately open a bottle and taste it. That's just what we did.

Medium color in the glass, a color that was in the process of changing from young purple to a teenage garnet. Good smell of fresh fruit, mostly berries. Medium weight on the palate but with a huge amount of acid. The tannin was moderate and the wine finished with a zip and a zing from the acid. We all agreed the wine had syrah in it but we each had a different idea of what the remaining grapes were. I guessed Carignane and Mourvedre while others were holding out for Grenache in the mix. No one thought this was an amazing wine but everyone thought it imminently drinkable.

A quick search of the manager's notes found the price - $10. For ten bucks it was a very good little wine. I picked up a bottle to take home, then found a small steak and upon checking out found that the bar code was not in the data base. It took another minute or two two work around that problem.

The steak was good and there was some polenta with fresh sage and black truffle salt. The wine was very good with the steak and everything would have been good with the polenta. The amount of acid in this wine makes it more of a food wine, it's not something that would appeal to a crowd of casual sippers. I liked it very much.

$10 and 13% alcohol.

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