Gaillac, SW France

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70% Braucol and 30% Syrah makes up this inky, stinky soulful sub-twenty-dollar beauty. Organic farming, no filtering, and minimal sulfur levels keep the purity and sense of place right where it should be. This wine is SW France in all its glory: sun-baked black currant, blackberry notes on the rich, unctuous palate, while aromas of the same are met with black pepper, savory mixed grill red and green peppers, and a spicy finish of Sichuan peppercorns. There is a leather note here, reminiscent of nearby Right Bank Bordeaux. Braucol reminds me of Cabernet Franc, and the Syrah brings a smoke and meat element making this the ideal wine for Cassoulet, duck confit, or any hearty winter stew. The perfect foil for the coming spring and summer backyard grill sessions. Get a case for under $200 and keep it around! Drink now through 2022.

NEIL’S PICK