AIX-EN-PROVENCE, France — I finally tasted a few wines this week. The first was from a producer called Messes du Prievre, a Syrah/Grenache blend from the Southern Rhone Valley. It’s a fairly easy drinking red that I enjoyed with my host family with dinner. We had a sort of red mystery meat that I was not familiar with but it reminded me of a tiny ribeye steak, which paired well with the spicy character of the wine. It also would have been drinkable on its own.

The next night, while enjoying the company of Aline and Fred’s friend Christophe and Aline’s mother, we drank a Rose from Cotes de Rhone Provence. The producer, Sainte Victoire, is yet another that is unfamiliar to me, but it was a tasty Rose and a good way to cool off before dinner. While we ate our meal, we enjoyed a Baron de Lestac from Bordeaux, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. We had tuna over white rice with an arugula salad — which wasn’t the most complementary meal to have with the wine, but still quite satisfying.

Today we had our first tasting as a class at the Institute. Unfortunately we couldn’t get the wines ordered in time, so the students had to bring a few bottles. We tasted through a rose, two reds and a sweet from Bordeaux, which was the best of the four in my opinion. It was semi-sweet with prominent flavors of melon, honey and tangerine and at less than seven Euros; it was a steal of a deal.

• Read Amanda Salas’ other post at the Herald-Republic’s France Wine Blog.