Created in 1948, the Madiran appellation of SW France permits only red wine production and requires a minimum of 40% Tannat – a grape prized for its intense fruit, spice and powerful tannins. It’s showcased here at 80% for its characteristic bouquet which mingles tobacco, smoky minerality and ripe berries. The 20% Cabernet Franc lends finesse to this blend by lightening the tannins, lengthening the finish and providing some plummy fruit on the palate and a dried herb mélange in the bouquet. (Meanwhile, Tannat takes top marks amongst red grape varietals for the greatest concentration of OPCs – oligomeric procyanidins – the wine component associated most recently with improved cardiovascular health.) Food matches: strong aged cheeses, roast meats, veggies and game.