It had been a long, long time since I’d had anything like this.
And I loved every bit of it.
In fact, I often find I drink higher-quality wines much more slowly, because I savour — really savour — every single sip. Add to that the fact I loathe the idea of the wine being gone, and that means better, which usually means pricier, beverages often work out more cheaply for me in the long run, because I make them last. As long as I can. Smaller sips, more time in between them — you get the idea.
Anyway, that’s certainly what happened when friends were over for dinner a few months ago. They brought a wine that left me weak in the knees, and the bottle has been sitting on my kitchen counter, annoying the heck out of my husband, for all that time. So I thought I’d make his day, finally write about it, and put the bottle in the recycling bin.
In my defence, though, I smiled every time I saw that bottle. Which was daily. My mind drifted back to that extra-fun evening, the people with whom we shared it, and of course, the taste of the wine.
And for such an amazing wine, it’s not that expensive. The 2010 Les Coteaux Schisteux Séguret from France’s famed Cotes Du Rhone sells for $23.91 and is simply stellar wine.
The grapes come from a single vineyard and are principally Grenache Noir with some Syrah. Some of these grapes come from vines that are 50 years old or older — well established, reliable, proven fruit that is turned into truly memorable wine. It’s also fermented by naturally present wild yeasts and is allowed to mature for two years in one- to three-year-old French oak barrels.
The result is a stunningly deep, luscious, harmonious, and complex wine that is definitely worth a try for any Old World red wine lover. In fact, Les Coteaux Schisteux Séguret could probably make a convert of those who didn’t think they liked Old World wine. It’s a winner, and I can’t recommend it more highly.
However, just to balance things, both for the wallet and for those who prefer wines from the New World, why not try the Open Merlot from the Okanagan? This is a remarkably good Merlot, especially for $12.49 a bottle.
My husband is a Merlot fan — he pretty much prefers it to all other red grape varietals — and while I like it a lot, too, I insist on it with pork — chops, roasts, tenderloin, and baked ribs. (I prefer Zinfandel with barbecued ribs, as long as barbecue sauce is being used.)
But the Open, which I’ve written about before, is a really serviceable beverage, especially for the price. Because it’s less costly, however, I really recommend aerating this one to round off the slightly harsher edges that frequently appear in lower-priced wine. Decant it for an hour or so, or pour it into one of those huge goblets that are everywhere nowadays, swirling it frequently as you sip. Those big glasses are hard to hold sometimes, but they do such great things in terms of oxygenation — I’ve become quite enamoured with them.
And if you want to go really inexpensive, the Fuzion Shiraz Malbec from Argentina is surprisingly decent for $8.99 a bottle. Full-flavoured and fruity, there’s lots here to appreciate if you like deep reds. Again, some aeration will help this beverage along, so twist off the cap, pour it, swirl it, give it a bit of time, and enjoy.