The French, thanks to pressure from the European Union and the continuing crisis in the their domestic wine business, have made significant changes in what kind of wines the law allows to be made. (Yes, French wine making -- what grapes can be used, where they can be grown, and the like -- is regulated by the government.)
Which leads us to Hold-Up (about $15, purchased), from a producer called Rhone Gang. It's a French wine, but it's a product of the new wine laws. Which means it's quite unlike most French wines the Wine Curmudgeon has come across. It's a red blend of grenache from the southern Rhone and pinot noir from Burgundy -- about as odd a pairing as is imaginable and one that would not have been possible before the legal changes.
Best yet, it's an interesting wine. I'm not sure it's a $15 wine, and I'm not sure that blending grenache with pinot noir is something that should be encouraged. And I know that the name and the label could use more work. Change the wine laws certainly, but leave the cute marketing to Americans -- the fake mustaches are a bit much. But Hold-Up is a clean, not especially fruity wine with solid tannins and 13 percent alcohol that is more than compatible with steak frites, hamburgers and hearty winter dinners.