"I need a bottle of wine to cook with—what can I use?"
It's a dreaded question in my house. Whenever Nancy needs a bottle, I don't have anything I'm willing to spare for the sauce.
So, I came up with a solution: Just get a case of this tasty Southern Rhône red. Now it's no slight that I buy it for occasional use in cooking; Nancy and I adhere to the policy that you should cook with good wine, not bad.
But at about $9 a bottle, it doesn't bring a tear to my eye to pour it into something other than a wineglass. And it's good enough so that all the bottles that do get drunk are enjoyable.
This blend of Grenache, Syrah, Carignane and Cinsault (50, 20, 15 and 15 percent, respectively) offers elegant red cherry, mineral and lavender hints with a nice dusty-edged finish.
Over the past few vintages, the La Vieille Ferme Côtes du Ventoux red (as well as the rosé) has established itself as easily one of the best values from the Southern Rhône. I haven't reviewed the 2007 vintage yet officially, but so far working my way through this case, it's 87 points, non-blind.