I opened this bottle, poured out a glass of the deep garnet Syrah and got a whiff of sun-baked hillside, dark berries and wild herbs. The taste is redolent of spice and blackberries, smoke and something brambly and wild. A close but less glamorous cousin of Hermitage, the 2009 Crozes Hermitage “Les Jalets” from Jaboulet is made from 25-year-old vines. The grapes come mostly from “Les Jalets” vineyard, named after the old French word for the pebbles left by Alpine glaciers. This is a Crozes Hermitage that can stand up to grilled meats. Skip the heavy barbecue sauce, though. I love it with Provencal-style daube of beef with black olives. Butterflied leg of lamb would be a fine match too.


Region: Northern Rhone Valley, France


Price: $20 to $23


Style: Rich and full-bodied


What it goes with: Grilled meats, daubes and stews


— S. Irene Virbila McClatchy-Tribune