Tuesday, September 08, 2009
This quintessence of must
In the countrysides, the harvests are getting under way, and in the cities, the fall Foires aux Vins are stocking shelves in air-conditioned supermarkets with gleaming bottles of Bordeaux. Special offers are sliding into mailboxes and popping up on computer screens.
It's la rentrée, and, as opposed to the more paschal renewals of spring, this is the golden-leaved time for revisiting wine. Soon, we'll be drinking a glass of carbonic bernache, or seeing just how much a favorite from last fall has changed before bottling. I've been giving in to the irresistible impulse to revisit things (I thought) I loved, just to see how they and my palate have evolved. It's a fun exercise, and also helps tame the overgrown cellar.
(And this will come as a spoiler to no one: I still love those Selosse champagnes.)
Last night, I opened a curio: the darkest rosé in the world.* It is the Domaine de Rapatel's "Ça, c'est du rosé?," purchased last year at the domain, which is situated just outside of Nîmes and whose wines are mostly in the Costières de Nîmes appellation. At the time, the wine had been slightly funky, still working in the bottle, a curious discovery.
Last night, it was angry. It had consolidated itself around a core of something it wasn't quite digesting, a kind of raspy backhand of not-quite-stilled CO2. Still, it had a top layer of fruit that was pleasing. This was utterly atypical fare. And as such, it made me smile as I looked at it, turned the glass, swirled, and thought, I am drinking the darkest rosé in the world. Ha ha!
A fitting close to the summertime months and their rounds of Bandol and Côtes de Provence and even, hell, the uncompromisingly taut and pale Baudry Chinon Rosé. Something dark, something not-quite-right, something transitional.
And soon, a new season.
*Readers may feel free to contradict and shoot me down, for my own edification.