Montpezat 2005 Coteaux du Languedoc Palombières ($11.99)
Very dark garnet, with reddish-violet glints. A typical regional chateau-bottled blend of 80% Grenache and 20% Mourvèdre, it offers light raspberry scent and a hint of fresh green herbs, maybe tarragon and thyme if I had to single them out (but I'd prefer not to have to give this answer on a test). Mouth-filling, tart and softly tannic, red fruit and crisp, food-friendly acidity wrap up a simple but attractive package that carries its rather hefty 14% alcohol well. US Importer: Robert Kacher Selections, Washington, D.C. (Sep 4, 2008)

FOOD MATCH: I'm rarely loath to make a cross-Latin match between a French wine and an Italian meal, and scored this time with a lighter-style summer version of Italian-American spaghetti and meatballs with Pecorino Romano cheese: The meatballs were local natural beef and the topping was no thick, long-simmered, caramelized "gravy" but a quick, fresh garden-tomato sauce.



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