Wine: Chateau La Baronne Montagne D’Alaric.
Grapes: Mourvedre (40 percent), carignan (30 percent), syrah (30 percent)
Region: Vin de Pays de Hauterive, Corbieres, Southern France
In the glass: Chateau La Baronne is a dark semi-opaque cherry red with deep purplish streaks going out into a firm pinkish-red rim definition and high viscosity.
On the nose: There are immediate upfront freshly crushed red and black berry fruits with peppery undertones, stewed cherries, licorice root, earthy minerals, violets and herbs de Provence, as well as a healthy dose of underlying crushed stone.
On the palate: The wine is forward with big fruit extraction, spicy black cherry notes, lots of peppery red fruit, powerful structure with present but supple tannins, then a midpalate with lovely complexity showing more pepper, crushed sloe fruit, elderberry juice, and herbs and faint hints of wood. The finish is solid with hints of raspberry liqueur and spices, and the wine lingers on the palate, with a kick of acidity at the end.
Odds and ends: Chateau La Baronne, which is owned by Andre and Suzette Ligneres, is on the slopes of the decidedly small mountain called Montagne d’Alaric. While vineyards have been planted in this area of Southern France, near the city of Carcassonne, it is a remote and desolate area that is suitable for grape cultivation. The more stress a vine endures while growing, the higher the content of beneficial polyphenols called rasveratrol, one of the highest forms of antioxidants, therefore making this wine healthful to drink in moderation. It is the time of the year for these types of hearty and fairly rustic wines, and you can try it with a goulash soup fresh off the stove. Chateau La Baronne should drink well now through 2014.
Gil Lempert Schwarz’s wine column appears Wednesdays. Write him at P.O. Box 50749, Henderson, NV 89016-0749 or e-mail him at email@example.com