bois de mengeMany inexpensive red wines from France can be simply described as “dirt and acid”. This Grenache/Syrah blend from the south of France is no exception although a hint of juiciness reminds you of happier times.

The characteristic strawberry jam of Grenache shows on the nose but it’s buried intriguingly by freshly turned earth and spades of gravel and black pepper. This rustic theme is continued on the palate where joyful red berry fruit is squeezed by stern acidity turning sour on the medium length finish. Tannins are hard and drying, a fitting, austere end to a wine that gives only moments of pleasure.

If you’re tired of sweet fruity wines, this is a welcome respite. But don’t expect rapture.

It would be wrong to say a wine like this is inexpressive. It’s expressive like Jim White proclaiming “the truth forever hid behind the static on the radio”.

Score: 84

Price: $14 (at Trader Joes)

Alc: 14.5%