I don’t normally do this but since Maurice Sendak died today, I decided to reprint an homage I wrote for the Everything Wine blog in 2009.
Where the Wild Wines Are: Languedoc
There are times in life when you feel an itch to step out of the civilized world and go feral in nature. Two wines I tried recently made me put on my wolf suit and tell my husband, “I’ll eat you up!” He called me a wild thing and sent me to the living room without eating anything. But with my glass in hand, I watched a forest grow and grow until the ceiling hung with vines, and I found myself where the wild wines are.
Domaine de Fabrégues 2006 Le Coeur from the Coteaux du Languedoc is a smooth blend of syrah and carignan with an intense, full-throated quality that made me gnash my purple stained teeth and roar a terrible roar: “Yum!” Like the majestic oak, its full body has chewy tannins and bold structure. The color and texture are dark as a cave, and the ripe plum and blackberries have a feral, brambly character. Meat, smoke and mineral notes taste like flesh cooking over a wood fire on a rocky ledge.
My raucous heart caused me to lead an open revolt with Vive La Revolution 2007 Pays d’Oc Grenache, and the rumpus began. Its smell of flowers and red berries growing on a forest floor made me roll my yellow eyes, but its accessibly smooth mouthfeel and mild tannins did not scratch with terrible claws. Instead, it tamed me with its magic trick of displaying lush red fruit and decadently savoury herbs. Then, the juicy, fruity finish told me, “be still,” and I did. I was excited by it, since it impressed me as the most wild wine of all.
Yet, these wines let me know they were lonely being drunk by themselves. They wanted to be where someone would love them for more than their quaffability and deep, intense flavours. And from far away, across the room, I could smell good things to pair with my wild friends: stewed venison, roasted pheasant, smoked duck and a heady mushroom sauce. Those scents made me say I’d give up where the wild wines are, but they said, “Take us with you. Match us with these delicious foods, we love them so.”
So, I sailed with my wild wines over the carpet towards the dinner table, in and out of a few minutes, to where I found my supper waiting.
And it was still hot.
(Regards and regrets to Maurice Sendak.)