Pont d'Avignon 2003 Cotes du Rhone ($15.00)
Two-thirds of this wine is Syrah and one-third Grenache, making an unusually Syrah-heavy blend that shows itself in a very dark blackish-purple color and a hint of menthol behind very ripe red-berry fruit. A burst of ripe and juicy fruit open up on the palate, lifted by snappy acidity and just a hint of drying tannins. Typical of the 2003 vintage in the region, it's full and forward and rather "Californian" in style, a non-traditional but easy-drinking Rhone red. US Importer: Pont d'Avignon USA (Gallo), Hayward, Calif. (Apr 2, 2005)

FOOD MATCH: Its ripe and forward fruit went well with the bold flavors of fresh rapini and Italian sausage over cheese polenta.

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