Our Wine of the Week, Sebastiani 2010 Sonoma County Old Vine Cabernet Sauvignon ($50), is what I call a grown-up wine and not just because of its price. Its flavors are focused and elegant, with a pleasing depth punctuated by a handsome acidity that stops the wine from becoming ponderous. If the wine were a dinner guest, he -- and, yes, I think this is a masculine wine -- would arrive in a beautifully pressed suit and dominate the evening's conversation in a riveting way.
There's plenty of black fruit, with spicy notes that move like a melody through the wine's core. As the wine lingers on the palate before your next sip, flavors of licorice root and allspice blossom. Tannins are firm and just a bit rough, qualities that will resolve as the wine ages.
We tend, I think, to feel a wine such as this one needs to be served with equally elegant fare. Certainly, the wine is a wonderful match with rare beef, lamb and duck, seasoned with nothing more than a bit of salt and pepper. It is also excellent with rare tuna, especially when it is topped with a round of black-olive butter. But the wine is excellent with more rustic fare, too, including pasta with short rib ragout, lentil risotto, braised sausages and roasted root vegetables served with black-olive tapenade.
For today's recipe, I've adapted a long-time favorite from my book "California Home Cooking" (Harvard Common Press, 1997), a rustic pot roast with potatoes, carrots and celery root. The dish is perfect at this time of year, when nights are still chilly. I like to serve spinach with a spritz of lemon alongside and a simple green salad afterward.
California Pot Roast
Makes 4 to 6 servings
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 chuck roast, about 4 pounds
-- Kosher salt
-- Black pepper in a mill