If you like Yellow Tail, you'll love these cheap French wines.

If you like Yellow Tail, you'll love these cheap French wines.

If you like Yellow Tail, you'll love these cheap French wines.

Oct. 11 2006 1:29 PM

Let Them Drink Yellow Tail

French winemakers court international cheapskates.

(Continued from Page 1)

Arrogant Frog Ribet White 2005 (chardonnay, viognier blend), $8.99
A heady nose of lemons, peaches, and flowers, along with some chalk. Ripe, zesty fruit on the palate, with a nice note of pineapple on the finish. Simple, enjoyable wine.

Emilio Merlot 2005, $9.99
A promisingly dark color and a funky, interesting nose, with a whiff of charcuterie, red currants, spicy oak, and a slight medicinal note. Soft red fruit that gets buried under a wall of tannins as it makes its way across the tongue. An unfortunate clash of Muzak and heavy metal.

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Chamarré 2003 Bordeaux, $ 11.99
A Bordeaux blend (cabernet sauvignon and merlot, along with some cabernet franc and petit verdot). Deceptively wan color—the wine actually has some heft and depth to it. Vanilla-inflected black fruit, along with a peppery note. Another tannin juggernaut across the palate, but the fruit at least manages to keep its feet.

Chamarré Cabernet Sauvignon-Grenache 2004, $9.99
A high-toned cherry perfume on the nose (the grenache talking), along with some pepper and toasty oak. Full-bodied wine with sweet black fruit and a hint of licorice. A little too much structure, not quite enough fruit, but an interesting, satisfying blend.

Le Freak Shiraz Viognier 2003, $14
A decent bouquet of tart blackberries and white flowers (courtesy the viognier, presumably). A chewy, dense texture to the wine, but there is a washed-out quality to the fruit. It's a northern Rhone tradition to cut syrah with a bit of white wine; in this case, it seems only to have cut the heart out of the syrah.