Please forgive me, but my language geek is coming to the fore. I see a word, and I want to know what it means. I come by it honestly, though. My father used to actually pack relevant volumes of our home encyclopedia when we went on trips. I kid you not!! This is something my sister and I would hear when we were supposedly on vacation as he pulled out a book from underneath the driver’s seat where it was very sneakily packed. “Here you go kids. Here’s the “A” volume. We’ll be driving through Arizona today, so take a few minutes and read through that entry. When you’re done, tell me about how Arizona got it’s name.” At that point, loud mournful groans would be heard from the back seat of our station wagon.
Anyway, back to geeking out. Pontificis is Latin and (according to my online research) the genetive – i.e. possessive – singular form of pontifex. Pontifex originally meant bridge-maker or “one who negotiates between gods and men.” In old Rome it was a high priest or the like. In the modern context it has come to signify the pontiff and specifically the Pope. Thus, the vintner is suggesting this wine is “of or belonging to” the Pope. Well, then what’s it doing on sale at my grocery store?!
Notes: This one was a deep, dark purple in the glass from which wafted scents of berries and musty earth. Acidity was good; tannins were in the medium range; alchol was at 13.5%. According to the label, this Pays d’Oc red is a blend of 40% Grenache grapes, 40% Syrah grapes, and 20% Mourvedre grapes. Not surprising, then, that I found an interesting variety of flavors. There was first and foremost quite a bit of fruit – plum, cherry and raspberry. In addition, I found oak, touches of grass, and hints of fennel as well as coffee notes. Like many reds, the flavor profile and the tannic attack lightened as it had more time to breathe. Overall, I was suprised by the moderate complexity of this budget blend. This will never merit a 95 from The Wine Spectator, but it could top someone’s list of red table wines – maybe yours.