Chaos theory predicts that poor quality wine will put a restaurant out of business, even if the food, service, décor and location are impeccable. The psychological spillover effect of bad wine is powerful. Read my latest column, Chaos Theory: the butterfly effect on wine and why restaurants with bad wine lists will go out of business, for more details. Below are a pair of wines that should keep even dodgy restaurants in business for a while.
2010 CHÃ‚TEAU VIGNOL BLANC AC Entre-Deux-Mers, Bordeaux, France $13.95 #108522
Here’s a delicious Entre-Deux-Mers (sauvignon blanc and sauvigmnon gris, sémillon and muscadelle), full of zesty grapefruit, green fig, guava and citrus peel flavors, bolstered by a handful of sweet green herbs. Intensity and length are well above the mean at this price. Enjoy now.
Best: 2012 – 2013
Serving Temp.: 8ÂºC
Pairing: Grilled asparagus with hollandaise
2009 SEQUILLO CELLARS RED WO Swartland, South Africa $29.95 #277996
A RhÃ´ne-inspired wine from three areas in Swartland produced ‘naturally’ according to the label, though Eben Sadie is certainly well known for his hands-off, natural approach with nothing added and nothing taken away. The wine, in any case, has a terrific nose, full of spicy dark berry fruit, fresh earth and licorice in a pure and authentic expression. The palate is full-ish, neither heavy nor thin, just a delicious mouthful of crushed berry fruit, Mediterranean herbs, fennel and licorice, scorched earth and black stone. Long finish. An intense wine that you could still drink all day.
Best: 2012 – 2018
Serving Temp.: 18ÂºC
2009 BEST’S GREAT WESTERN BIN NO. 1 SHIRAZ Grampians, Victoria, Australia $23.95 #222323
A superbly concentrated, black fruit-flavoured example of Aussie shiraz, yet one that remains lively, juicy and succulent even at 14.5 per cent alcohol. Tannins are ripe and firm, acidity balanced and finish exceptional. Thick, rich and juicy, tailor made for the barbecue. Top value.
Best: 2012 – 2019
Serving Temp.: 18ÂºC
Pairing: Lamb barbacoa (Latino-style)
More recommendations by John Szabo at www.johnswines.com