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Wine of the Week: Beauzeaux 2005 Red Wine

We can't decide whether the proliferation of offbeat names for everyday table wines is an honest attempt by producers to lure younger buyers away from beer and alcoholic soda pop or a bad sign for civilization as we know it. Some of the wines thus labeled are as silly and forgettable as their cutesy names, while others, like Red Truck and Big House Red, are perfectly rational blends.

Beauzeaux 2005 Red Wine (about $12 at liquor stores and supermarkets), we are advised by the label, is to be pronounced "bozo." Don't hold that (or its screw-top cap) against it. Beauzeaux is a skillful if nontraditional blend of grapes from all over California wine country by the reliable and thoroughly reputable Sonoma vintner Beaulieu Vineyard. Just don't look for it to be touted at the winery's Web site alongside its prestige varietals.

The blend begins with zinfandel (68 percent), which is an excellent start, carries the boldness forward with syrah (21 percent) and then tosses in accents of petite sirah, charbono, grenache, tempranillo, lagrein (native to northern Italy) and valdiguie (a grape grown primarily in southern France). What a crazy mixed up kid this Beauzeaux is!

The thing is, the blend works. It delivers on the promise of the zin and syrah right up front, then adds notes of cherry and chocolate plus a bit of mineral bite. We first tasted this wine on the recommendation of a supermarket liquor store manager we know and liked it so much at the half-off sale price that we bought a case.

Pair this youngster with all kinds of undemanding dishes, from appetizers like cheese and pepperoni on a cracker to soups and salads to fish, chicken or duck prepared simply, under the broiler or on the grill.

Colette and John Bancroft. She is the Times' book editor, and he is a freelance writer specializing in food, wine and travel.

Wine of the Week: Beauzeaux 2005 Red Wine 02/03/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 3, 2009 3:30am]
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