Sometimes it's poetry that arrests our attention at the wine shop. Such is the case with the 2006 Abbaye de Saint-Ferme "Les Vignes du Soir," or "The Evening Vines," which we are told refers to those vines planted farthest from the abbey and receiving the last sun of the day. It's a nice image. That the wine goes for about $8 to $10 at wine shops and wine-savvy markets makes it even nicer.
This red Bordeaux blend is dominated by merlot at 70 percent, followed by cabernet sauvignon at 20 percent, plus a smidge of cabernet franc. The wine is deep purple in the bottle, slightly floral with hints of roses and raspberries on the nose, and very dry yet abundantly fruit-forward on the tongue. It's the grapes you taste first. Then a bit of cassis, a bump of blackberry and rich dark chocolate chime in at mid-palate. Nicely developed tannins persist into the long dry finish, which is enriched with notes of dark roast coffee and more dark chocolate.
Pair this supple, robust wine with grass-fed buffalo burgers, venison steaks or lamb shanks.
By Colette and John Bancroft. She is the Times' book editor, and he is a freelance writer specializing in food, wine and travel. For an index and archive of reviews, go to pictograph.com.