Maybe it's only me... but it seems that the "hardcore" wino crowd who know the skinny on every vintage for every premium region in France and Italy from all brand-name producers have settled on their favorites, and it would take 7.0 earthquake to shake them out of their established circle of "acceptable" wines.
I guess the question is - if one can afford to drink nothing but high-end Burgundy and Barolo, does it mean a simple Chianti or Dolcetto should never grace their lips? Gentlemen (and ladies), please stop posturing - your wine snootiness is no fun.
I for one am happy to munch on a simple charcuterie with a glass of exceedingly enjoyable Portuguese red for $10, my joy only slightly marred by watching 49ers give away yet another game.
Dow's Vale Do Bomfim Reserva Douro, 2005, 13% alcohol - made from 45% Touriga Franca, 20% Touriga Nacional, 30% Tinta Roriz (Tempranillo) and 5% Tinta Barroca grape varieties. Smooth, ripe, fruity but not too fruity, infinitesimally spicy, and pleasantly tart, very balanced, approachable and easy drinking - a perfect match for mortadella, salumi (custom-aged in my wine cellar), Bra Duro cheese from Piedmont, rustic baguette, and black olives (that remind me of Lagrein from Northeast Italy), on a cool sunny November afternoon in Palo Alto... life is gewd!
Sipping this very satisfying red, I had a vision of beef short ribs in a crockpot with chopped onions and carrots, stewed in my secret sauce that included (drumroll please....) - a glass of this very wine. It was going to take 6 hours of slow simmer, just enough for the charcuterie and cheese to settle down in ma belly, and the memory of the 49ers' defeat to become merely a distant irritation...
Few hours later, as the darkness and cold of the evening descended upon us, I warmed up a batch of creamy polenta, smothered it with the short rib stew, and served with the Portuguese red, which naturally was perfect with that dish. A slice of the creamy and tangy Boschetto al Tartufo cheese (with tiny specks of truffle) completed the ensemble - voila!
Oh, that simple red - I took it places it had never dreamed of, and both of us ended up all better for it!