05 Paul Jaboulet Aine, Cotes du Rhone "Parallele 45"
Sometimes you need a bottle to steal a glass from while you cook. I guess that's what this stuff is for. Because pleasure seems to have never entered the vernacular of Paul Jaboulet Aine. You can find the bits of black olive, raspberry, and licorice from the 85% grenache and 15% syrah, but only if your brain can register them before the sea of chunky, leathery tannin kicks in. It's one, small acetobacteric step from vinegar. A Cotes du Rhone that does what it was meant to do just fine--be tasty next to a great homemade burger cooked medium rare and topped with Manchego, raw yellow onion, bib lettuce, and piccalilly (the greenness of this wine really responds to the onion). The pervasive acid is strong enough to stand up to anything and there's nothing the tannin wants more than a few specks of sea salt to hold. From a vintage this great, though, one expects a bit more. And maybe that's my fault--for expecting--because in any French bistro with a steaming sandwich, a bowl of stew, quail, or, hell, even a pot of mussels, we'd be on our third carafe. Now that it's here, though--now that it's come all this way to me--I wish it had more to say. I wish it didn't seem so jetlagged.