In this round of the fulfillment of my dream in which I help you actually buy wine in life, I present three sensuous options—two great reds, and a stunning dessert wine.
Domaine De La Roque, 2011, $12.49
Sensuous and rich, this 100 percent Cabernet Franc from the banks of the Aude river in southwestern France is a wine to fall in love with, if you’re given to inky plush passions. Notes of violet, black cherry, plum, spice, and blackberries dominate, but like any great wine it’s the sum and not the parts that really impress. This is a velvet hammer of a wine, perfect with any red meat, from grilled lamb chops to a good steak, but equally good alone, or as part of a grand romance. —DMG
Gobelsburger Zweigelt, Weingut Schloss Gobelsburg, 2010, $14.99
Zweigelt (pronounced TSVYE-gelt) is a cousin to Pinot Noir, and the most popular red grape grown in Austria—the reason for which a bottle of this will immediately make clear. What’s remarkable about it is how fresh, gulpable (actually, almost dangerously guzzleable) and juicy it is for a red—it’s truly thirst-quenching, without being sweet or blowsy. Concentrated and fresh, a rare combination—the rare red wine that is as appropriate at a campground as it is at the center of a dinner party. Pair with nearly anything, from spicy vegetable curries to grilled meats to pizza. If you do you’ll find that in addition to its cherry-freshness the wine has plum and blackberry depths, with accent notes of cinnamon, and a little bit of appealing smoke. —DMG
Di Lenardo, Friuli Venezia-Giulia, In My Next Life I’ll Be Thin. Pass the Cookies! $17.99
No kidding, the name if this Italian dessert wine really is ‘In My Next Life I’ll Be Thin. Pass the Cookies!’ Even more bizarrely, most of this wine from Italy’s prestigious Friuli Venezia-Giulia region is consumed in Europe, where they know to appreciate the sweet and glorious concentration of a blend of rack-dried Verduzzo Friulano (80 percent) and Riesling (20 percent), but don’t know all that much about Chips Ahoy. Oh well, try a glass of this gorgeous dessert wine and you’ll find a core salinity and focusing acidity supporting a thousand notes of almond, apricot, orange blossom, honeysuckle. Pair it with a blue cheese (like one from Shepherd’s Way), or a rich triple cream cheese like delice de Bourgogne, drizzled with honey, for a fantastic end to a special dinner party. —DMG