What’s in My Glass
Las Rocas de San Alejandro, 2003
From the Aragon region of northeastern Spain, this garnacha (Grenache) is full-bodied, intense, and quite thick with dark fruit and earthier flavors. Wild boar, venison, duck and other game birds and heartier fall fare would go well with it. At 14% alcohol, it should warm the blood at the same time. $12.
Chateau Flaugergues, 2003
An unfiltered Grenache/syrah/ mourvedre blend from Languedoc, this is a hot country wine with that touch of licorice and spice so characteristic of this part of France. Pork medallions in a fall fruit sauce, any red meat cooked with apples and onions, anything with truffles white or black, this is a good match. $14.
Clos de Gamot, 1995
This 100% malbec from Cahors is, at ten years of age, just coming into its own. Surprisingly delicate and fine, with echoes of black raspberry and currants, this is a good wine for more delicately sauced meats, such as veal, sweetbreads, or lamb. Available in the northeast and Midwest, $18-$24.
Castello Montaúto, 2002
Made from the Italian white wine grape Vernaccia near the Tuscan village of San Gimignano, this wine, with lots of bright fruit and a nose of sweetness not reflected on the palate, lends itself to either end of the meal but probably not the middle. Oysters, poached salmon or trout (but no cream sauce!) come to mind. That or to accompany a fruit tart, galette de noix, pastis, or an apricot/peach clafouti for dessert. $13.
Trimbach Pinot Blanc, 2003
Pinot blanc is one of the traditional grapes of Alsace in northwestern France, and one sip of this wine will tell you why. This is a delicate flower of a wine, light but with what the French call "gras", or fat. Unlike a sere Chablis, pinot blanc has a richness, a complexity that emerges in the long duration of the flavors on your palate. Trimbach is a good house, respectable, making good wine year on year, but still within the reach of most pockets. Try their pinot noir for a completely different experience of that grape. $17.
Domaine Gros Noré Bandol Rouge, 2002
Domaine Gros Noré Bandol Rouge, 2002, is of carignan grapes, from the hot, Mediterranean terroir of Bandol. This is a huge wine, smelling of heady summer meadows, black fruits, pipe tobacco, and one you'll still be tasting an hour after the meal. It would be lovely with a rare, perfectly grilled prime rib or hanger steak or other red meat. $20-$25.
Clos la Coutale, 2002
Clos la Coutale, 2002, a sturdy vin de Cahors, from southwestern France, with lots of red and black fruit and a smoky finish characteristic of the malbec grapes from which it is made. This is a wine to open at least an hour before serving, a wine which will hold up to more strongly flavored sauced meats and which would, for example, be perfect along with grilled lamb chops marinated in red wine, rosemary, and garlic. $15.
Jaoa Pires, 2003
Jaoa Pires, 2003, an unusual Portuguese Muscat, almost a demi-sec, with just a hint of sugar and an overwhelming nose of honey and apple. Because it has a touch of sugar, it would be excellent with a cold terrine, foie gras, or other charcuterie, or, on the other end of the meal, with a chocolate dessert, sorbets, or fruit tarts. $12-$14.
Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand, 2004
Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand, 2004, from the Marlborough region, begins to approach more of what people call the tropical tastes and smells - melon, pineapple, kiwi (fittingly!)-and whose fruit doesn't interfere with, for example, fish, chicken, or pork which has been marinated for the grill in lemon or orange juice or with herbs like cilantro and thyme. $12-$15.
Macon-Lugny "Les Charmes", 2003
Macon-Lugny "Les Charmes", 2003, an unoaked 100% chardonnay from southern Burgundy. This is a very crisp, neutral chardonnay with a nice mineral finish and one which complements simpler summer fare. $10.