Wine: Domaine Léon Barral 2009 Faugères
Origin: Faugères, Languedoc, France

Taste: Generous in youthful fruit and near lavish in minerality. Blackberries, cassis and sage mesh with asphalt and animale. Low-intensity tannins, supporting acidity and restrained, 13% alcohol combine to create a full-bodied and satisfying drink.

Expectation: Hearty foods, especially red meat, should work well. There’s no new oak, which dramatically widens the pairing options. 

Hit: Roasted Lamb Shank
Lamb works exceptionally well with so many southern French reds, and this Carignan, Grenache and Cinsault blend is no exception. They share that pleasantly funky, gamey note, and both have significant heft. Shank accented with hard-stemmed herbs like sage, rosemary and thyme – anything that evokes garrigue – seals the union.

Miss: Lentil Soup
A vegetarian version of lentil soup was a flop. Surprisingly so. The positives were the well-matched weight of the wine and the potage along with an underlying earthiness and herbal top notes. Even the moderate acidities of the two items matched. However, for this duo to work, a savory element of meat, preferably bacon or beef, is required.