The Sainte Croix La Bergerie Syrah Merlot 2012 is a blend of 50% Syrah and 50% Merlot sourced from vineyards (probably from purchased grapes or juice) in southern France on the Languedoc and Roussillon border. Domaine Sainte-Croix is owned and operated by an English husband and wife wine-making team, they are in the process of converting their vineyards to organic farming. The La Bergerie (translates to a shelter where shepherds take their flocks during a storm) is a $4.99 Trader Joe’s US exclusive and is available in Canada for around $15. The wine is aged for 2 months in large, older oak barrels. The La Bergerie is not shown on Domaine Sainte-Croix’s website, so it may be produced especially for export. The alcohol content is 13.5%.
The color is dark purple with a cherry halo. The nose is black cherry, plum, chocolate, ripe strawberry and a little spice. I was expecting a New World fruit forward Red blend, especially at this price range, but the La Bergerie has a little Old World French country wine edge to it. Balanced fruit flavors, with balanced spice and a good slap of tannins. This is a wine made to served with food, sipped by itself its fine, but add a plate of hearty stew, pot roast or Italian sausage pizza and the La Bergerie is an eye-opener. It tastes of blackberry, licorice, pepper, a late slap of mild spice and a cooling finish of blueberry. The tannins, the acidity and the spice give this blend solid, firm structure. The finish is soft, but lengthy.
The Sainte Croix La Bergerie Syrah Merlot 2012 is the kind of wine that folks in Paris drink every day. If a bottle of wine is featured at lunch and supper, the average Frenchman isn’t spending 20 bucks a bottle. A good, solid wine that costs a few euros is the order of the day. Now, in Paris, they have many inexpensive everyday wines to choose from and in the US decent $5 wines are harder to find, it’s Trader Joe’s and few other options. But, the wine drinking world lives day-to-day on very inexpensive, but good wine. Don’t judge a bottle of wine by the price, drink it and if you like it, then that is a good wine. It is the same formula for wine that sells for $50 and wine that sells for $5.