The lamb stew is all the better for having been made with the Clos Saint Jean Vin de Pays Les Calades (see below). And, as I suspected, the Domaine de la Tourade Gigondas is the perfect match for lamb stew.
Three or four years ago, when I last tasted this 1998 Gigondas, I thought it was nearing its end. Drink up, I thought. But old viney Grenache-based wines can fool you. The primary fruit aromas and flavors have given way to beautiful secondary traits, and the wine is just entering its most enjoyable stage. Wish I had more!
I smelled hints of oxidation in April of 2009, and I still smell them tonight. But they have become more attractive, like the crinkly lines around the eyes of a classically beautiful older woman. Delicacy and elegance but with the twinkling power of a good Gigondas underneath. Still some cherries and berries--more dried than fresh tonight but no less enjoyable. And a garden full of garrigue--thyme, rosemary and sage. What the stew lacks, the Gigondas provides very nicely. The finish is intense and deep.