Woody Guthrie so there had to be something quintessentially American as well. Essentially that meant steak and wine.
The steak was a bone in rib steak, simply seasoned and tossed on the grill to medium rare. There was ratatouille on the plate as well as the summer vegetables are in full season. Yellow squash, onions, zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes, garlic and a few herbs all cooked together and allowed to cool just a bit. Flavorful and healthy.
The wine was a 2000 Domaine Belle Pere et Fils, Crozes Hermitage, Cuvee Louis Belle. Beautiful old color in the glass with some brown beginning to appear at the edges. Quite a bit of sediment in the first small pour so I filtered the wine with a stainless mesh screen from that point onward.
There are times when all it takes for me to love a wine is to stick my nose in the glass and this was one of those times. Full on aromas of ripe, red and black berries sat on top of warm spices - cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla. There was an earthy quality in the nose as well and each of those components were in perfect balance. This was an eye closing aroma - close the eyes and let one's mind go where the aromas take you. They took me to some wonderful places.
The flavor profile matched the aromas of the wine perfectly. The fruit was dominant but was so well supported by the earthiness and the warmth of the wine. Rich cherries, dark berries, spice from some oak, and herbs from the earth all played their roles. The tannins were firm, but not drying at all, they just gave a structure to the wine. Over the course of the evening the wine wine continued to improve and the last glass was certainly the best.
Once in a while there is a bottle that reminds me of why I love wine, and why it isn't just a beverage. This was one of those bottles. The only sad note is that this is the last bottle of the two bottles I purchased of this wine about eight years ago.
Original price $30 and 12.6% alcohol.