Several new cheapies from the South of France have arrived on the shelves in time for barbecue season. Please think of more than meat on the grill, vegetables like eggplant and pepper and onions reward the flame and smoke treatment as well. (Some gastronauts argue that peppers are not fit to eat in their raw state.  I think I also read that Ferran Adrià detests them).  What were we talking about …?

BonpasThe Bonpas ($16.59)
Find it in the France Section

The Bonpas is a throwback to the Cote du Rhone plonks of earlier decades. It’s a little confected, a little hot with booze, a little weedy and thin, a little assembled.  Generally a little wine the chief virtue of which is its price.  This is the sort of stuff that used to be dismissed as “carafe wine” meaning indifferent “red.” It’s not terrible but … Meh

lafage_2The Lafage Cote du Sud ($18.49)
Find it in the France Section

The Domaine Lafage Cote du Sud is from further south, in Roussillion and is, happily, another story.  It delivers good, full ripe fruit flavours, there’s a hint of fig, and it’s rather plush.  The character comes from the Syrah grape making up 80% of the mix here.  Syrah can be quite overblown from warmer growing areas, but they done well to keep it reigned in. Even if this is a relatively simple drink, you can taste care having been taken.  This would really elevate a salad of grilled veg with goat cheese, or even a burger.