Mas de Guiot 2000 Vin de Pays du Gard ($14.99)
In Australia, wine makers have been mixing Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon for generations, knowing that these disparate partners can enjoy a happy marriage that takes advantage of each participant's strengths. But it's a little less common in France, making this modest item from Provence an unusual treat.

Very dark ruby, almost black. Black fruit aromas and a whiff of leather, pleasant if a bit austere. Ripe black-cherry flavors follow the nose, with a lemon squirt of acidity and perceptible tannins. Good, balanced wine, a blend of 60% Cabernet and 40% Syrah. US Importer: Robert Kacher Selections, Washington, D.C. (Feb 16, 2002)

FOOD MATCH: As you would expect from its components, it would be a natural with red meat. We fashioned a meatless match and found it paired well with "gumbo risotto," a cross-ethnic vegetarian mix of Indian-style okra curry with rice in a risotto technique.

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