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VOL. 127 | NO. 10 | Monday, January 16, 2012

New Grape Yields Tasty Red Wine

By FREDRIC KOEPPEL

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If you drink a wide range of wines, you probably know the names of most of the important grapes. I mean, you don’t have to take a wine class or even read a book to remember chardonnay, chenin blanc, pinot grigio and sauvignon blanc; cabernet sauvignon, merlot, pinot noir, syrah, zinfandel.

Of course there are thousands of grape varieties in the world capable of being made into great or just passable wines, and many of these grapes are little known outside of their small regions. Still, scientists insist on creating new varieties by crossing different species, trying to draw out the advantages of each.

FOR YOUR VERY OWN BOTTLE

KIMBROUGH WINE & SPIRITS
1483 Union Ave., $13
KIRBY WINES & LIQUORS
2865 Kirby Parkway, $13
POPLAR WINE & SPIRITS
2136 W. Poplar Ave., Collierville, $13

Here’s one: Marselan. It’s a fairly recent cross of cabernet sauvignon and grenache that was approved in France in 1990 for use at the Vin de Pays (“country wine”) level, that is to say, not for the superior AOC category. The thinking seems to be, OK, it’s a good grape but not that good.

I will tell you, however, that the Domaine de Couron Marselan 2010, Vin de Pays des Coteaux de L’Ardeche, is a terrific little wine that’s completely appropriate with burgers, pizza, pasta, nachos, whatever, and it doesn’t have to apologize for anything.

The color is a brooding inky purple though the wine’s bouquet and flavors are vibrant and enticing with notes of black currants and plums, violets and tar, briers and brambles and surprisingly intense graphite minerality. The texture is not too dense but it’s chewy enough to lend substance, while robust acidity keeps the whole package vivid and lively. Very tasty and satisfying.

And take a gander at the price!

For more about wine, check out Koeppel’s blog at www.biggerthanyourhead.net.

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