Cheap Grapes: Château Planères Cuvée Prestige 2005
You may have never had wine from the Roussillon appellation before, but don't let that scare you. It's not exactly Bordeaux or Burgundy, but I've enjoyed most of the wines that I've sampled from this sunny little region in southwestern France. 2005 was a stellar year throughout France, so even the wines from the 2nd and 3rd tier appellations are likely to be at their best. Carignan is the real go-to grape in the region, but this wine is a nice blend of Mourvédre, Syrah, Black Grenache and Carignan. The result is a good mixture of dark berries and earthiness with enough acidity to keep it out of 'jam' territory; making it a good match for most foods. It could hold its own against spicy food, but is gentle enough to go with seafood. My wife and I matched it with grilled rainbow trout, and loved it. It hit LCBO shelves a couple of weeks ago at $14.95 - a great deal IMHO as it kicks the ass of all of the New World competition at that price point. It's not one to let gather dust in the cellar, but my guess is that it will be great to drink from now until 2012. This is a good one - hunt it down.