Jacky Janodet 2000 Moulin-à-Vent Domaine les Fines Graves, $12.60
The nose starts out with a hefty whiff of barnyard, but it diminishes with time in the glass while flowers, red fruits and mild beety elements assert themselves. On the palate, there is rich strawberry/raspberry fruit with some earth. This has good acidity and it’s quite smooth and nice. It goes very nicely with a teriyaki-style stir-fry. Two days later, the barnyard is completely gone, repalaced by tart red fruits, a few flowers, a beet note and some minerals. Very fine match with fusilli in a puttansesca-style sauce with veggie Italian sausage. Importer: Franklin Selections, Annapolis Junction, Md.
Domaine du Vissoux 2001 Fleurie les Garants, $14.25
This has nice high-toned aromas with fairly sharp flowers, strawberry and some earth. On the palate, there is bright strawberry fruit accented by some earth and a touch of minerals. This is focused and angular, and has nice delineation, some structure and reasonably smooth texture. It makes an excellent match with a variety of cheeses, including chevre, Tomme de Savoie and aged Gruyere. The next day, it’s similar, though the fruit is a bit darker, maybe some raspberry mixed in with the strawberry, the minerals are more prominent and some herbs show up, too. It goes great with pasta with salsa cruda (raw tomatoes, sweet onions, peppers, garlic, olives, basil and rosemary). Importer: Weygandt-Metzler.
Michel Ogier 1998 Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes Syrah La Rosine, $17
My first La Rosine and I looked forward to this with high expectations. But when I pop open the cork, VA and oak come wafting out. With time in the glass, they never go away, though some flowers and red and black fruits emerge to counteract the bad aromas. On the palate, there are subtle, mellow red and black fruits with some oak and alcohol noticeable as well. The heat, in particular, surprises me given that it’s just 12 percent. I bought this bottle recently on close out (I have several others that have been sitting patiently in the cellar for years) and suspect it spent too much time upright on the store shelves. However, the next day, what a difference! The heat is gone. The nose has very prominent classic bacony and smoky aromas. The palate still has a subtle mix of red and black fruits, but now they are accented by earth, smoke and bacon notes. It’s very smooth and balanced, and makes an excellent match with black bean stew. I guess the lesson is to open and decant several hours before drinking, or give the remaining bottles a few more years. Importer: Robert Kacher.
Clos du Marquis 1999 St.-Julien, $14 (375 ml.)
This starts out a bit rustic, harsh and oaky. But with some time in the glass, the nose gets much better with cedar, black currant, flowers and earth. (See above lesson.) The palate gets better with time, too, with good black currant fruit, cedar and earth accents and an increasingly chocolaty finish. This has smooth texture, good structure, acceptable acidity, and is very enjoyable after some air. It’s a great compliment to barbecued chicken. (Forgot to note importer.)