The HCCS here stands for "Hanover Consumer Cooperative Society," which operates a supermarket near where I live. This red wine is technically (according to its label, anyway), a vin de pays de l'Herault , Herault being a départment in the south of France, somewhat to the west of Provence on the Mediterranean coast, known for producing relatively crappy wine in bulk. Presumably, some wine importer offers to slap the labels of smaller stores onto the wine to make them look impressive. I won't bore you with the claptrap that's printed on the back of the bottle, which implies that some flunky from the store "scours the globe" for excellent wine.

This wine is pretty bad, though not as bad as the recently reviewed 1998 Alma Navarra Garnacha. The aroma is a mix of sherry and rubbing alcohol, and the taste is not far off from that. This is a prime example of what can happen to a wine when it is out of balance--in this case, there is not even much fruit flavor, and this lack throws the alcohol into sharp relief. Yuck.

Anyway, since this is a local label, people outside the greater Hanover, New Hampshire USA area need not be alarmed by this wine. But it does serve as an important lesson to be wary of vins de pays and wines about which you know absolutely nothing. Well, I guess it was only about $6, so my expectations were low anyway.

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