The taste of the wine was fruity, tart, penetrating, and at first the
tannins were almost teeth-coating, which was most surprising
in so supposedly modest a wine, never mind a wine so old. (Oh,
I thought at first, I’m drinking this much too young!—the wine,
I mean, not myself.)
The wine was drunk with a beef stew. The two made each other
By the next day the wine had lost some of its verve. I didn’t
think it had lost much color, until I poured next to it a 2007
Taverna Il Lagarino Di Dionisio (those Italians!), which is
also a blend of three grapes, but in this case Merlot, Cabernet
Sauvignon, and Aglianico. In contrast, my Côtes du Rhône
now looked almost yellow.
My bottle of the 1983 cost $4.99 in 1985, which is about
$11.00 today. And I found online several stores that are selling
the recent vintages of the wine for almost exactly that! (Several
weeks ago in France I saw the wine in a supermarket for a bit
more, 11 Euros.)
Here’s wine writer Nick Passmore in a 2010 piece called “The
Genius of Guigal’s Côtes du Rhône Rouge”: “…to make a
wine of this quality, age it for two years, bottle it, ship it to
the U.S. (and other markets), pay duty, distribution costs,
wholesaler and retailer markup, and still sell it for $15 is not
only extraordinary—it’s an act of winemaking genius.”
You’ll be able to find a recent vintage of this Guigal Côtes du
Rhône. There are as many as 3,500,000 bottles made in any
given year. That’s almost 300,000 cases.
Buy a case. If you drink only one bottle every three years, in
36 years you’ll have one left that will be about as old as this
1983. Lucky you.
Serves 6 to 8
42 grams (1/3 cup) all-purpose flour
1 kilogram ( 2 pounds) boneless beef chuck,
cut into 4 cm (1½ inch) cubes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 large onions, chopped
1 liter ( 4 cups) beef broth
473 ml ( 2 cups) dry red wine
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon veal or other demi-glace (available in
specialty food markets), optional
1 teaspoon Tabasco or other hot sauce
2 large carrots, peeled and cut diagonally into 1-inch
2 medium parsnips, peeled and cut diagonally into
4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) finely chopped parsley
1. In a large bowl, combine the flour with 1/2 teaspoon
each of salt and pepper, or to taste. Mix well, add the
beef, and toss until coated.
2. In a large flameproof casserole over medium heat,
heat the oil until shimmering. Add the beef cubes,
shaking off any excess flour, and cook until well-browned on all sides. Remove from pan and set
3. Add the onion to the pan and sauté until translucent,
about 3 minutes. Add the broth, wine, mustard,
tomato paste, demi-glace (if using) and Tabasco. Stir,
scraping the bottom well. Add the beef and reduce
heat to low. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally,
until beef is tender, about 2 hours.
4. Add carrots and parsnips and reduce heat to low.
Simmer, partially covered, until vegetables are tender,
about 30 minutes. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
Add parsley, and serve.
Beef Stew with Wine