As the year begins to wind down, it would be a huge oversight not to feature at least one wine from that greatest wine producer of them all, the nation of France. With most of the 2005 Bordeaux sold out or overpriced, and the 2009s still in barrel, wine lovers will be better served to look towards the Rhone Valley and the 2007 vintage, which fared far better than Bordeaux did in that year. The more complex, blended wines made in the Southern Rhone have a tendency to show extreme elegance, complexity and terroir expression. The wine I have selected is a fantastic and affordable example.

CHATEAU GIGOGNAN VIGNE DU REGENT CHATEAUNEUF DU PAPE 2007, 93 Points, $40, 2500 cases made- Dried plum, red licorice and hung game on the nose. Earthy green olive and caper notes above complex, gamey, smokey red currant flavors and orange peel spice. Incredibly gamey all the way through, with hung meat flavors adding a stunning dimension to its juicy cherry fruit. Elegant but rich, with spicy mineral notes lingering long. Layered and complex. 52% Grenache, 46% Syrah, 2% Mourvedre.

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