We may have found a new house wine. I'm very excited about the possibility.
Last night we drank this charming bottle of wine from France's Mediterranean coast. It's a blend of Carignan (60%), Mourvedre (25%), and Syrah (15%). The Lignéres family owns the property associated with Chateau La Baronne, and they now produce a number a single-vineyard bottlings. (Check out their website. It's fantastic.) The "Aric" is named for the Visigothic king Alaric, for whom the local mountain range is named. I couldn't pass this wine up, knowing how important Alaric II was for European legal history. His 506 A.D. Breviary (also known as the Lex Visigothorum) was a compilation of contemporary Roman law for his Roman subjects in Spain and Gaul. Works like this were valuable in keeping Roman law learning alive after the fall of the western empire.
But naming a wine after an obscure legal figure isn't enough to make it our house wine. It must, of course, taste good. This one certainly did. It showed heady aromas of violets, berries, and oak. It was medium-bodied and delicious to taste. It could have used a longer finish, perhaps with better developed tannin or greater acidity. Although the bright, artistic label (depicting antique winemaking tools) looked more New World than Old, the wine was pure Provence. At $20 a bottle it may be a bit too expensive for a house wine, but it was certainly worth the price and more.