It scored 19 points on the 20-point Dionysian scale. At just eight years old, with 14.5% alcohol, the maximum for meals, and costing about $50, the wine was filled with pepper, black raspberry, plum, smoky oak, and subtle herbs and spices. The 2012 Chateau La Nerthe Chateauneuf-du-Pape is a wine I should have kept another 10 years.

It was served with a simple crock-pot stew and warm Italian bread making our basic winter meal a celebration of all the good things we expect to come.

It was made from 48% Grenache noir, 29% Syrah (the black pepper source) 22% Mourvedre (black fruits) and 1% Cinsault to add a hint of spice. It continued to open for a full hour after opening and poured from the bottle, not a carafe. Sadly, I can no longer afford wines like this and won’t have the time to lay them away for future drinking. In Vino Veritas.