Wine: Val de L’Ours Cabernet-Syrah.
Grapes: cabernet sauvignon (75 percent), syrah (25 percent)
Region: Vin de Pays D’Oc, southern France
In the glass: Val de L’Ours Cabernet-Syrah is black as night with a dense core going out into a deep garnet-red rim definition with medium-high viscosity.
On the nose: It has deep crushed black fruits with immensely concentrated notes up front, then pepper-laced cherries, creme de cassis, currant extract, sandalwood, earthy minerals, violets, phenolic compounds and hints of oak underlying.
On the palate: A big, rich concentrated wine with immense amounts of pepper-laden dark fruits, definite pomegranate-cherry juice, mulberry crush, phenolic heat and intense extract characterize Val de L’Ours Cabernet-Syrah. The midpalate is again solid, with layers of phenols, smoke, licorice, cherry compote and graphite going into a tremendous finish that is laced with earthy black fruit, hints of charred meat and definite anise through the end.
Odds and ends: Coming from the famous house of Rothschild through the Lafite branch of the family, this is part of the Domaines Barons de Rothschild’s estate in the Languedoc in southern France called Aussieres. This is a delicious everyday quaffing wine. It is simply called Val de L’Ours, meaning “valley of the bear” for the animals that roam this part of the country. I think it goes to show that while it would be easy for the Rothschilds to just rest on their laurels from the success of Lafite, they realize that mere mortals also have to drink some good wine and therefore have many offerings from all layers of the wine business. While priced as an entry-level wine, this bottle goes beyond to deliver a seriously rich and full-bodied style of wine in the form of a cabernet sauvignon-syrah blend that really showcases the terroir of the Languedoc region. This is a great value, especially if you have just grilled some nice steaks and steamed some green beans. The wine should drink well now through 2015.
Gil Lempert-Schwarz’s wine column appears Wednesdays. Write him at P.O. Box 50749, Henderson, NV 89106-0749, or email him at email@example.com.