This Week with Margaret at Home

Margaret has been cooking up a storm. On Sunday night, she served braised lamb with white beans and turnips to Marcia and Stan, and I dug out a Médoc, as suggested by the recipe in the New York Times.

When someone says that a wine is from a good vintage, they are simply saying that the weather conditions were such that the grapes were in good shape when harvested, so the resulting wine should be good. The weather in Bordeaux in 2000 was the best in a decade. After a cool June and rainy July came a sunny August. Margaret and I were in Provence with Joe and Lee that summer – and,  believe me, it was hot. The autumn rains held off, and the weather turned cool again just as the Cabernet Sauvignon was harvested. The experts were thrilled with the result, rating 2000 Médoc at 98 out of 100, and suggesting that it isn’t ready to drink yet.

Expertise notwithstanding, I uncorked one of my last 2000 Château Greysac, Appellation Médoc Controlée. Half Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot and 10% Cab Franc, Greysac is consistently excellent, a well-made wine with classic Bordeaux complexity, pitting the muscular cab against the soft merlot, mediated by gravelly, fragrant and flavorful cab franc. Breathing for about an hour, with no decanting, the wine was round and full – time to drink up.

Two days later, Margaret whipped up osso buco for dinner with Sylvia. The recipe called for wine white, so I ran out and came back with a $12 bottle of 2008 Columbia Winery Gewürztraminer. When the food came to the table, so did the wine.

Like Riesling, Gewürztraminer is a misunderstood wine, especially for its unearned reputation for being sweet. It further suffers for being difficult to pronounce, but so what? Grooner found a solution.

Despite its pink color, Gewürz is a white wine grape, happy in the cool climate of Alsace, with the aroma of lychees, roses, and the flavor of exotic fruits and spices. Transplanted to the New World, especially in Washington State, Gewürz is a pleasant drinking, medium-bodied medium-dry white wine, showing melon and passion fruit, in addition to lychee. It is recommended with oriental cuisine, smoked fish or turkey, but Margaret’s hearty osso buco also works just fine.

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