I’m watching the Yankees/Red Sox game (and of course the Yankees are winning!) - and a white Cotes du Rhone was what I had tonight. But right now I’m eating - believe it or not - Rainbow Nerds. It’s ok to go outside of the box sometimes, and while I don’t usually advocate eating candy out of a box, I’m making an exception, as my mom placed it strategically in my Easter basket last week. (For the record, I’m not an advocate of shaking anything out of a box to eat it. Just a peeve I guess.)
And I’m thinking about a wine I opened recently.
As you may remember, if you read my 30th birthday post about the lineup of 1983 wines that I opened back in November, there was a 1983 Beaucastel present, and showed perfectly on that evening.
A couple of weeks ago, we went to a BYOB bistro restaurant nearby, with lovely French dishes that are nicely executed. We decided that BYOB should mean Bring Your Own Beaucastel that evening. And I opted for the 1998, which I had blind tasted not too long ago. Stunning, to say the very least. Beaucastel is special for lots of reasons - partly because they use all 13 permitted Chateauneuf du Pape grapes, partly due to the larger percentage than normal of Mourvedre, and...well...it’s Beaucastel. It’s rich in history. It’s exquisite.
It’s no secret I prefer wines when they’re older, as long as they’re the kind that can age gracefully. (Generally, it’s also no secret that I prefer nearly everything older, but that’s another story. Or you could go back a while to I believe September 2012 and read about the Nebbiolo Man.) But, as I said, it’s got to be the kind of thing, including wine, that can age gracefully and does in fact do so. Beaucastel is one of those things. Interestingly enough, I’ve never had a recent/current vintage of Beaucastel, so I’m just curious to experience it in its youth. But I’d prefer to have it when it’s aged a while. Anyway, it’s glorious when it’s aged properly - interestingly enough, the bottle actually threw off no sediment which I always find fascinating when an older red just doesn’t have any sediment or waste down the bottom of the bottle. In terms of characteristics and appearance, the wine had a lovely dark red color with with a rust colored rim and was becoming more transparent. The wine has become quite elegant and soft and clean, with notes of subtle red and dark fruit, plum, bramble berry, black pepper, savory herbs, dried flower petals, soft baking spices, a bit of tobacco, and stony mineral. The wine still has plenty of energy, but everything has become balanced - acidity is in check, tannins are softened, and all flavors and aromas are present but none overpower the others. And the finish is long and lovely. Basically, it’s just the way we want it.
And for me, it’s a perfect evening. Granted, I usually like to do the menu planning and cooking myself, but it’s fun to bring a great bottle to a very nice BYOB restaurant and enjoy ourselves for the evening. And a wise friend and fellow wine professional likes to remind me that the situation often makes the wine experience even better - when I’m in a nice restaurant enjoying good food and conversation with someone I love - yes, the experience of a 1998 Beaucastel seems pretty perfect to me. (And it helps that my very special someone is a seasoned wine industry professional who appreciates a wine like this, too, and being able to discuss the wine together makes it even more fun.)
My suggestion? Try and find a great wine like that, something that you know you’ll enjoy, and open it with someone special. You don’t have to choose a special occasion to open it - create a special occasion with the great bottle and the special person. There’s no sense in opening a bottle like that alone.