A subtle red from southern France

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The 2009 French Fusion comes from a chateau in the foothills of southern France that has a history of receiving high points from wine critics. | Larry Ruehl~Sun-Times Media

Ninety Plus Cellars, aka: Leverage Beverage Company, was conceived during the recession in 2009 by two savvy businessmen, Kevin Mehra and Brett Vankoski, who had experience in the beverage industry and resided in the Boston area.

During this period, there was a wealth of available juice from well-known wineries that had a difficult time selling their product at a hefty high price point. Mehra and Vankoski decided to negotiate an agreement with wineries that had received 90-plus points for their wines and needed the additional revenue. They would purchase their final product while agreeing not to disclose the name of the winery. It would be sold at a fraction of the normal retail price under the 90 + Cellars label and the consumers would be the beneficiaries of a wine that was worth two to three times the price they had paid. Ninety Plus Cellars expanded their business model to include an expansive list of wines and grape varietals including Malbec from Argentina, Barolo from Italy, Shiraz from Australia and Sancerre from France along with many others.

If your searching for a subtle red that is fruit driven and somewhere between a Pinot Noir and Grenache, this 2009 French Fusion may be the ticket. It originates from the foothills of southern France and this chateau has a history of receiving high 80 point scores from wine critics. With 60 percent Syrah it still retains a medium to light bodied style with faint rose petal aromas. This was a great vintage throughout France and the textures in this wine are well integrated, pleasurable and approachable. A bit of pronounced red currant jelly and cherry blossom flavors fill in the mid-palate along with a layer of soft vanilla tannins. This wine has a pretty and feminine up-front style that makes it immediately enjoyable.

Suggested Retail: $10.99

W. Peter Hoyne has been a wine journalist for over 20 years, covering stories of national and international significance. While his professional relationships in the wine industry have allowed him to share a unique perspective of wine, he is also intrigued by the culinary aspect and harmony that exist between wine and food. As a wine advocate, he is committed to consumer education and is focused on upcoming trends and American wine-buying habits.