This rare wine comes from Domaine Sainte Croix, one of the most exciting boutique estates to emerge recently from the wild, rocky and remote region of Corbières, in southwest France. This isolated subzone of the Languedoc region, along the country’s Mediterranean coast, lies in the ruggedly beautiful foothills of the Pyrenees mountains, not far from the Spanish frontier. English winemaking couple Jon and Liz Bowen became captivated by Corbières and by the potential of its ancient mountain vineyards. This red blend is based on Carignan, a grape traditional to the Languedoc that’s the backbone of much of the region’s rustic bulk wine. But, as the Bowens and other neo-traditionalist vintners are showing, when made from old, high-elevation vines planted in limestone soils, Carignan can yield distinctive wines of superb structure and character. Small amounts of Syrah (aka Shiraz) and plummy Grenache soften the Magneric blend.
Most Carignan-based wines are not super-aromatic, but the Magneric offers pretty scents of plums, allspice and lavender. Loads of bright currant, olive and cassis notes unfold on the generous palate of this polished red. Fresh acidity and a mineral note keep the ripe fruit from tasting heavy.
Rustic foods made from fatty meats and poultry such as sausage and duck are terrific with Carignan-based blends. For a Southern Frenchthemed pairing, try it with any dish that incorporates Mediterranean ingredients such as olives, garlic and Herbes de Provence.
Serving Suggestions • Fast Pork Sausages with Lentils • Gourmet Cassoulet • Grilled Smoked Duck
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