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Bottle Funk: No Sleep 'Til Byzance

2006 Brian Carter Cellars Byzance

Like fashion and music, what’s happening in the bottle can often reflect the socioeconomic breath of our society. While trendy boutiques boast crocheted dresses and tops and hippie-style, peace prints and long, whimsical Bohemian skirts, roguish winemakers are infusing earthy, Old World charm into their bottles. And while such an endeavor may seem pricey to wine gypsies like myself who infrequently have more than $20 for a bottle, it’s not.

Smelling the Colombia Valley-honed 2006 Brian Carter Cellars Byzance was like smelling a well-made Châteauneuf-du-Pape. I was immediately transported to southern Rhone, a place I dreamt of visiting for years. You can smell the careful, expert blending of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre through the wet soil, wet cellars and farm animal-funk. My cousins raise boars on the fertile red soils of Manchester, Jamaica. And this wine took me there as well. On the palate, there are flavors reminiscent of stewed red fruits and raw filet mignon. And the finish was slightly leathery.

After hanging out in the fridge with no fancy wine preserver gadgets on-hand, the next day the wine’s luxurious, medium body shone through an even grander experience of black cherries bellydancing on my palate.  I sipped it with no food, but I fantasized having it with yellowtail sashimi or bluefin tuna belly sashimi.

If you must have something to eat, this wine needs raw or rare meats, something fleshy to capture its raw earth nuances. It’s been a while since a single bottle has kept me up writing in the middle of the night, but Byzance, the French word for luxurious, is a muse.

2006 Brian Carter Cellars Byzance retails for $26-$31.

Dinkinish O’Connor is an award-winning writer. Her food sojourns have taken her everywhere from the shanty town bistros of Kingston to the gnarly vineyards of Bordeaux. She has written for Wine Spectator, Condé Nast Traveler, The Miami Herald and other publications. Dinkinish received her sommelier certification and hosts innovative wine tastings. To see what’s happening in Dinkinish’s sumptuous, little world, check out, “Gourmet Squatter,” a blog that explores how to sip high on a low budget.