03 Chateau Haut Beyzac, Haut-Medoc
The Haut-Medoc is so famous for its cabernet-driven wines, that I didn't fret at picking up such a generic bottle. There's no getting around the lovely minerality one gets from the reds here such as those from Paulliac, Margaux, and St. Estephe. Hence my surprise when I found this wine made of 75% merlot and only 25% cabernet. But this is why the wines here are labeled by region, not varietal. While the cab's force, spiciness, and dusty minerality still sing operatically on the nose, a deliciously juicy dried plum, stewed mushroom, blackberry, and grilled fennel flavor dominates the palate. It's a well-woven wine that expresses the cloy elegance, rich fruit, and savoriness that I look for in good French table wine. It is a fitting complement to all things garlic, tomato, and meat.