I’m watching the first episode of Showtime’s Borgia a cable soap-opera depicting the showdown between the Medicis and the Borgias. Due to my dislike for period dramas, I haven’t even approached this show until now. But Netflix makes it so easy. Borgia has me mulling over ideas of worlds new and old. On the show, accents circle the globe from a fictitious Roman yesteryear (at least the faked accents aren’t inexplicably British) to a South Philly stoop circa now. (John Doman, I appreciate the fact that you didn’t try to “go there.”)
In the show there is an underlying sensation of watching the Godfather– the infighting, extramarital sex and of course the violence. We tend to think of this trifecta as part of the fleshly corruption of modernity but it’s always been there, just dressed in a more polished wardrobe and a big papal hat. That’s sort of how I feel about the difference between French Bordeaux and its descendant–it’s wine of the same lineage but dressed in new cloth.
Columbia Valley C.M.S. (Cabernet, Merlot and Syrah) is an inexpensive and highly drinkable example of what has been called a “new world Bordeaux,” a term that while clearly an homage to the formative years of wine making but I say whatever–we’re making it now. The blend usually includes Cabernet, Merlot and Syrah, grapes that flourish in the bio-diverse regions of the “new world” and can be made amply and inexpensively. Because of this, it can serve the purpose of its old world namesake, embodying something that is both “common” in that it is an inexpensive table wine and “fine” in that it is an intentionally crafted work of art.
Columbia Valley CMS may not be a Bordeaux Superiere. It was only 8.99 a bottle, But it is a wine that is welcome on my table any time. Its raspberry nose that dips into currant and cedar are followed throughout the whole wine by a bright and light-bodied juiciness. There’s a little nibble but nothing too bristly (especially if you let it breathe). In fact, there’s no real gravity at all. Whatever tannic structure the Cabernet brings is counterbalanced by the easygoing Merlot with the Syrah holding the whole thing together.
Food Pairing: Grilled pork tenderloin and pineapple, new potatoes and a green salad
Soundtrack: Beck, Odelay
Best Use: A late spring griller with old friends who you knew before college. Buy a case.