Wines of the Week: Nov. 30-Dec. 6
Everyday: Perhaps no grape benefits more from vine age than carignan. The 2012 Domaine Lafage “Tessellae” Vielles Vignes Carignan ($14) is a downright insane value, stout but approachable with strikingly good blue- and dark-red-fruit flavors, plus a bit of chocolate. And for those who wonder what all the talk about “minerality” is about, this French red can be revelatory, with a stony/slate-y texture at the fore. A custom cuvee from the fabulous importer Eric Solomon, this pure, seamless red will rock with barbecue and other meats cooked low ‘n’ slow. Plop on the striking, sturdy work of Ms. Etta James to round out the occasion.
Occasion: My friend Eric Asimov has called it the nation’s best gewürztraminer, and I’m inclined to concur. The 2013 Lazy Creek Vineyards Anderson Valley Gewürztraminer ($22) is lovely to look at, gorgeously enticing to sniff (lychee! honeysuckle!) and flat-out delicious. Made with sustainably grown grapes, this Mendo marvel is made Alsatian-style, dry and crisp but rich in flavor, with pear and stone fruit notes dominating. Almost jammy at the outset, it has a sturdy but uber-clean midpalate and finish. I can’t imagine a better wine for duck, but cured pork, smoked cheeses and mildly spicy Indian or Vietnamese dishes also would rock with this spicy delight. So would the glistening but fiery genius that was Mr. Jimi Hendrix.