A Wine Lover’s Near Weekly Review Of $15 Wine – A Better (Perhaps?) Kosher Merlot Signed France

Yes, you can get a French Kosher wine for not much more than $10. But will it be worthwhile? Royale Wine was founded in 1848 in central Europe. It has been owned for 8 generations of the Herzog family. It most illustrious member, Baron Herzog, was winemaker to the Austro-Hungarian Emperor Franz Joseph. The Baron’s descendants make wines, spirits, and liqueurs and have recently produced the first Kosher port wine. Today’s offering is a French Vin du Pays the equivalent of a European IGP, Indication Geographique Protegee, a middle of the road wine classification introduced in 1968. There are presently about 150 such French wines, mostly found in the southern end of the country. These are often varietals, in contrast to the more prestigious AOC (Appellation d’Origine ContrĂ´lee) blends. Our companion wine is also a Languedoc French Kosher Merlot, one costing about a third less.

OUR WINE REVIEW POLICY All wines that we taste and review have been purchased at the full retail price.

Wine Reviewed
Royale Merlot 2010 Pays d’Oc Indication Geographique Protegee, 13 % alcohol about $12.

We can start by quoting the marketing materials. “Cherry, plum, and vanilla present themselves for your inspection in this well-made southern French wine. Dry, remarkably well-balanced between the fruit and the acids. A wine for a simple meat pasta recipe.” And now for my review.

At the first sips this wine provided plums, moderate tannins, and balanced acidity. The initial meal started with chicken soup containing a Matzoh ball and carrots perked up with Louisiana hot sauce that rounded the libation’s acidity and intensified its plummy taste. The meal’s centerpiece was a no cheese ground beef lasagna containing spicy salsa that rendered the wine fairly powerful but a bit short at first. I tasted chocolate. Fresh cherries for dessert made this drink lightly acidic and not much else.

My next meal featured barbecued beef ribs. The Merlot’s acidity became rather unbalanced and there just wasn’t a lot of fruit. When paired with green beans in tomato sauce, our Languedoc friend was almost sour with a tinge of chocolate. Basmati rice with brown lentils intensified the chocolate and came close to taming the acidity. The drink caught the fire that occurred when I doused the ribs with Louisiana hot sauce.

The final meal’s baked chicken leg in Italian herbs soured the liquid a little. It was rather tannic and plummy. Upon meeting roasted eggplant and mushrooms this libation became almost chewy and I sensed plums in the background. When paired with fruit juice candy just a trace of this southeastern French citizen remained.

Final verdict. I will not be buying this wine again. Too many of the pairings were poor to middling. My quest for fine Kosher and non-Kosher $15 wines continues.

Levi Reiss authored or co-authored ten computer and Internet books, but prefers drinking fine wine. He teaches computers at an Ontario French-language community college. His global wine website www.theworldwidewine.com features a weekly review of $10 wines and a whole lot more. Visit his Italian travel website www.travelitalytravel.com.

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