Reserve de L’Aube Syrah-Merlot

Wine: Reserve de L’Aube Syrah-Merlot

Grapes: Syrah (65 percent), merlot (35 percent)

Region: Vin de Pays d’Oc, Southern France

Vintage: 2008

Price: $6.99

In the glass: Reserve de L’Aube is deep semi-opaque crimson red with touches of garnet, going out into an evenly blood-red rim with a touch of clarity and high viscosity.

On the nose: There is an onslaught of deep black fruit with crushed black apricot skins; interesting, complex, meaty crushed ripe black plums with Morrello cherry juice; and spicy underlying notes of cassis, hints of toffee and minerals.

On the palate: There is a rich cherry flavor at first, but then the wine broadens, revealing ripe peppery cassis fruit, brandy-soaked cherries, and effusive notes of cocoa, brambleberry juice and red fruit sorbet. The midpalate is gentle, yet powerful with smooth, silky tannins that carry into the lengthy finish, showing peppery spice characteristics, herbs de Provence, with touches of toast points and sloe fruit juice. This is a good, solid wine with great backbone, structure and potential longevity.

Odds and ends: Just as we thought we had run out of fantastic deals at the close of the year, along comes this Reserve de L’Aube. At less than $7, you cannot go wrong in making this wine your holiday companion. Not only is it a great blend of classic French grape varietals, but it comes from a top producer and is the first wine reviewed from the highly regarded vintage of 2008. This is a wonderful wine to buy by the case and consume over the next two years.

Gil Lempert-Schwarz’s wine column appears Wednesdays. Write him at P.O. Box 50749, Henderson, NV 89016-0749, or e-mail him at gil@winevegas.com.

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