Mon 17 May 2010
Yes, friends, it happens. My pizza Saturday night was an abysmal, miserable flop, of Edsel and Ishtar proportions. O.K., perhaps that’s an exaggeration, but it felt that way to me, though maybe I take pizza failure too seriously. My world and welcome to it. When I proofed the yeast, working in a hurry, I may have used water that was too hot and basically killed the stuff before it even had a chance to perform its task. Or I may have flung in too much salt; you need salt, of course, but a lot of salt will slow the action of the yeast. In any case, the dough did not rise properly, a fact I realized after a couple of hours. I punched the dough down anyway, kneaded it a bit more and set it out to rise again. Nope. And I foolishly, stubbornly, went ahead and made the pizza. What emerged from the oven, after all this effort, felt and tasted half-formed, incomplete, unfulfilled. In a word: awful.
The wine I opened, however, was terrific. This is the Tardieu-Laurent Les Becs Fins 2008, Côtes-du-Rhône Villages. Composed of 50 percent each of syrah and grenache grapes, the latter from 60-year-old vines, the wine sees no oak, only stainless steel, so its sense of freshness, vivacity and immediacy is unimpaired, along with robustness and a deeply fruity, juicy nature. Black currant, black plum and mulberry scents and flavors coalesce into dark, spicy, pithy and Platonic black cherry layered with soft, supple tannins. These qualities are shaded — as if the wine were not dark enough — by touches of graphite and shale, mint, a breath of sea-salt and that notion called garrique, the combination of warm, dusty wild flowers and herbs characteristic of the South of France. The finish brings in a little tar, bittersweet chocolate and mossy, earthy elements. This will be great with your grilled steaks and burgers and smoked ribs this summer. The alcohol content is 14 percent. 1,008 cases were imported. Excellent. About $22.
Imported by Wilson Daniels, St. Helena, Ca. A sample for review.