Chateau d'Oupia 2005 Minervois ($9.99)
Very dark reddish-purple, almost black. Delicate plums and fragrant black pepper. Mouth-filling, "chewy" black fruit and pepper, crisp acidity and drying tannins. A blend of 60% Carignan, 30% Syrah and 10% Grenache, its tannins suggest that it could benefit from a little cellar time, but it serves nicely at the table with an appropriate food match. US Importer: LDM Wines Inc., NYC; Louis/Dressner Selections. (Jan 4, 2007)

FOOD MATCH: Grilled meat would be perfect, but it worked well, too, with a meatless pasta course of bucatini with white mushrooms and reconstituted dried porcini with a bit of tomato paste and red wine in the sauce.

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