As February crawled toward its end, winter maintained its grip on Brooklyn; the snow pile in front of our house dated all the way back to Christmas. All we could do to cheer ourselves up was eat hearty food and drink serious red wine.
Sara made a rich stew and cooked it all Sunday. She floured cubes of grass-fed beef, then browned them in olive oil. She sautéed onion and plenty of garlic. She added carrot coins, a fruity Chilean Merlot, veal demi-glace and bay leaf and simmered it all for several hours. Then she steamed fingerling potatoes, with butter and parsley, and served that alongside the stew. Heart-warming.
I dug around in the cellar and found a 1994 Hermitage from Delas Frères. I have no idea when or where I acquired it; sometimes cellars yield mysterious treasures. The wine was rather light-bodied, but still dark in color. It offered a mature character, with flavors of spice, licorice, smoke and coffee and a thin bright core of cherry. It was silky, elegant and a refreshing match to the hearty stew. I rated it 90 points, non-blind.
When I checked the official review, I felt the Marquise de la Tourette had been seriously underestimated in its youth. I suppose that’s not uncommon—and not only when it comes to judgments about wines. Fortunately, I have this opportunity to offer a different point of view.
WineSpectator.com members: Read the original blind-tasting review for Delas Hermitage Marquise de la Tourette 1994 (80, $35 on release).
• Plus, get scores and tasting notes for more recently rated reds from the Hermitage appellation, along with our quick list of Top Values among Rhône reds.