04 Domaine des Remizieres, Crozes-Hermitage Cuvee Particuliere
There can be such an ease to drinking Crozes-Hermitage, probably the friendliest of Rhone syrah, that you would never guess the region is basically a patchwork of potholes and puddles injected with the occasional vineyard. Remizieres' Crozes plot sits amongst them, making some of the most flattering everyday wine on the market--a reason, really, to finally pass on the glut of Cotes-du-Rhone in favor of a purer, cleaner example of the just-complex-enough winemaking style that the valley should be famous for. The Cuvee Particuliere might just be the baseline for syrah, the point from which others can spike or dive. The violet and plum flavors would be sweet in a lesser (or higher alcohol) wine, but here they're immediately tempered by an old, peppery finish and dry tannins that cry out for New York strip. Yet, there's a pinot-like poshness that could make Sideways blush--an unexpected elegance amongst the brash, brambly country syrah. This wine is the heart of the dinner table, as the kitchen is the heart of the home. In it, I smell the smoke of crisping lamb leg in the oven, the savory richness of bubbling bolognese, the feral earthiness of pork served slightly pink. There is better. I don't want better. I want this beautiful, beautiful wine.