Yesterday I picked up a bottle of Ch. De Fontalem 2004, for about eleven dollars at Big Red. The label said A.O.C. Cotes du Marmandais. What’s that? I asked Cedric and he had to pull out the Oxford Companion to point out a map of some district to which Marmande was kind of near – Bordeaux is fifty miles down the Garonne. A quick search of the New York Times finds a reference in an article on "wines most of us will never drink." That would be a pity and I am glad it no longer applies to me. The wines, these days, are made mostly from merlot and cabernet, with 25% from traditional local grapes, especially one called abouriou. The wine has a clear red color, a nose of fresh strawberry somewhat like a good Rhone rose, a soft feel in the mouth and a pleasant, earthy taste with good tannins. It was a perfect partner to a relaxed Sunday meal of grilled chicken and frites. I have often been struck by the old British view that claret was a light wine meant for a simple bird, when most Bordeaux these days are deep, rich wines best with heavy beef. I suspect this wine is a lot like what red Bordeaux used to be. "And that’s a good thing."