French wines have been famous for centuries. Everybody is familiar with Champagne, and even most casual wine drinkers are familiar with Burgundy and the great blends of Bordeaux. Serious wine drinkers have long coveted Chateauneuf-du-Papes and Cote Roties as well as other great wines from the Rhone Valley. There are, however, many other wine regions in France and some of them are starting to turn out really nice quality wines in recent times. Some of the most interesting areas are in Provence and the Languedoc in the south of France near the Rhone Valley. Here you have some very nice wines being made in places like Bandol in Provence as well as Minervois on the western edge of the Languedoc. The Minervois AOC allows for multiple red grapes including Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, Carignan, and Cinsault as well as a few others.
The subject for today is the Chateau d'Oupia Minervois 2007. Made from 60% old vine Carignan, 30% Syrah, and 10% Grenache, it is a deep, intense purple in color. On the nose I get black raspberry and black cherry, a little chocolate, and a wonderful element of Herbes de Provence. In your mouth you get very focused and very dark berry flavors and black cherry. The wine is full bodied with decent structure, and it has a nice length to the finish that gives you even more dark fruit flavor, herbs, and a dark chocolate influence. I will caution that this wine has a very dark flavor profile. If your looking for bright, cheery fruit flavors, this is probably not the wine for you.
As far as value goes, the Chateua d'Oupia is a great one. Retailing in the $13-14 range, this delicious Minervois red is a very good value. I had this with a grilled pork tenderloin with a balsamic vinegar and rosemary marinade. The herbal element of the wine and the rosemary in the pork made for a perfect match. This could also be paired with other grilled meats especially if they have a nice rub or marinade with Herbes de Provence. Cheers!