Reasons not to like this wine: First, the label, which makes the young woman on the Lulu B. wines look matronly. Second, it’s cheap pinot noir from the Languedoc region of France, which means there’s a decent chance it won’t taste like pinot noir. (In fact, so many negociants are producing Languedoc pinots these days that the region has an identifiable style.) Third, I never trust cheap wine that says things about itself like “richly textured palate” and “velvety tannins and well-integrated oak.”

Which is why one should always taste the wine before one judges it, because the French Maid (about $12, available at Majestic) is quality wine. It’s fruity and berry-ish, but a little fresher and not as fruity or berry-ish as other pinot noirs from the Languedoc. Plus, it has a touch of pinot character that most cheap Languedoc and New World pinots don’t have.

It’s light enough to drink as a New Year’s aperitif or with almost any sort of New Year’s meal. It’s also a fine barbecue wine as spring approaches, with everything from hamburgers to smoked chicken.

A New Year’s Eve note for anyone still looking for bubbly — my last minute roundup is here.

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