Suppose you're leafing through a back issue of the Wine Enthusiast and come upon this review:
"Score: 87 Points
Produced from biodynamically grown grapes, this wine certainly has pure fruit. It also has fine tannins, a subtle mix of red fruit flavors, and juicy acidity. Tannins dominate the finish."
I don't know about you, but I stopped reading after 87 points. How many people would get up out of a their comfy chair to track down an 87-point wine? Not I.
Here's what I would do:
I leaf through a small French bistro's wine list and notice a reasonably priced bottle of red wine from France's Minervois appellation - demarcated as a distinct wine region only since 1985. What the hell? For 30 bucks, I'll try a new wine & add another notch to my corkscrew handle.
I order Chateau La Croix Martelle 'La Reserve de Sirus' 2001.
Sniff & Sip #1: Pleasant scents of blackcurrant, cedar and leather. Fairly basic flavors and structure.
Sniff & Sip #2: There seems to be a slight meaty aroma and the wine's silky smooth tannins appear to be striding towards my tongue's main stage.
With filet mignon & mashed potatoes in a brandy-white peppercorn gravy: Dine-O-Mite. The wine makes this one of those long, slow, exceedingly enjoyable dinners in which all the flavors compliment one another perfectly. In other words, while this wine was simply an '87-point' tasting experience when sampled alone, it became a key ingredient to a memorable meal once enlivened by food.
The moral of the story: Numbers on a hundred-point scale and a few vaguely descriptive sentences don't do most wines justice. Occasionally, in order to create fond culinary memories, an adventurous spirit comes in handy. This week, try a wine from a region unknown to you. You might just get lucky.
- Imported by Boisset; 13% alcohol; 40% Cinsault, 35% Syrah, 23% Grenache, 12% Mourvedre
- Deep, black cherry in color with a dusty-red rim
- The wine initially offers scents of blackcurrant, cedar and leather. After 20-30 minutes of air time, Sirus introduces aromas of meat, black pepper and a touch of funk (compliments of brett)
- The wine is rich and smoothly textured. Without food, Sirus seems restrained. Once a steak or roasted game is introduced, Sirus shines. It accentuates succulent flavor and extends the foods' 'palate time' in the mouth.
- Verdict: Highly Recommended
All that; and only 87 points.