It’s old-fashioned to compare wine to women, but this extraordinarily delicious wine reminded me of a beauty I once knew who had done years of aikido—mesmerizing but with an aura of authority stemming from her long training. The 2010 François Merlin Côte-Rôtie is a similarly quiet powerhouse in a beautifully elegant wrapper. Deep purple, redolent of violets and perfumed with wood, peaches, toast, cinnamon buns, and an undercurrent of iodine seemingly wafting in from the ocean. Vibrant, powerful, and youthful yet surprisingly delicate with fine-grained tannins masking a deep core of intense, layered fruit. Seductive and delicious already, but likely to improve for another decade or more.
Food pairing: Steak with black pepper, olives, or shiitake or porcini mushrooms; venison; duck; other game or fowl—pigeon, perhaps?; terrine; grilled eggplant; lamb; veal chops with morels