Michel & Pampilia Guiraud 2001 "Comme à Cayenne" Saint-Chinian ($14.99)
The proprietary name of this Languedoc red, which translates as "like Cayenne," doesn't mean it tastes of peppery fire. It's a joke on the name of a notorious French prison in the Caribbean - underscored by the ball-and-chain on the label - because, the proprietors say, their grandparents had to spend a year at hard labor, breaking up rocks, to build the vineyard. Labeled "contains no added sulfites, contains naturally occurring sulfites," this blend of 85 percent Grenache with Carignan is an inky dark-ruby color in the glass, almost black, showing a hazy ruby glow when held against a light. Underlying plummy aromas show against a complex and shifting backdrop with elements of brown spice, "barnyard" and the sulfury, rubbery, dank notes that suggest "reduction," a happily temporary state that likely results from it having been bottled with care to avoid exposure to oxygen, a necessity in light of its low sulfite content. Flavors are consistent with the nose, plummy fruit and spice with earthy, warm (14% alcohol) notes backed by tangy acidity leading into a long tart-cherry finish. US Importer: Hand Picked Selections, Warrenton, Va. (Aug 30, 2003)
FOOD MATCH: Fine with a pepper-crusted, pan-roasted ribeye steak.
WEB LINK: http://www.winemerchant.net/
FIND THIS WINE ONLINE: Wine-Searcher.com
Wine notes in 'shelf-hanger' format:
We publish Wine Lovers' Page tasting reports in the familiar "shelf-hanger" size and format, to make it easy for wine merchants or collectors to print them out, clip and post them where this wine is displayed. We do ask, however, that the WineLoversPage.com name, logo and URL be left intact, and that these reports be used with the specific wines rated, not different bottlings or vintages.
Our tasting policy:
All my wine-tasting reports are consumer-oriented. In order to maintain objectivity and avoid conflicts of interest, I accept no free samples from wineries or distributors, purchasing all the wines I rate at my own expense in retail stores.