It was the first day that really felt like fall, and we went a little crazy. She began plotting a big red pasta sauce, rich with prosciutto, ground sirloin and seven veggies, while he headed off to a local wine merchant in search of a reasonably priced red Bordeaux instead of the light-as-air summery whites we've been drinking for months.
The wine we found, a 2006 Chateau Cap de Faugeres Cotes-de-Castillon, from a fairly young appellation next door to Saint-Emilion, set us back $25 at a big box outlet, but we were giddy with the lack of humidity in the air and forked over the bills.
Before we get to the aromas you'll inhale as you splash this wine into a glass, be advised that this one will benefit from being uncorked a good hour before serving. If you have a decanter handy, here's a good excuse to use it. The garnet contents of the bottle have been aged for a year in old oak after fermentation in steel, and the wine is a bit tight when first opened.
Once it has had a chance to aerate, this blend of 85 percent merlot, 10 percent cabernet franc and 5 percent cabernet sauvignon rewards your patience with a subtle and seductive nose of rose-scented black cherry. On the tongue, the wine is luscious and complex and will repay thoughtful tasting with a nice balance of fruit — especially blackberry, cherry and black fig — and gorgeous tannins accented by notes of coffee and black pepper at mid palate. The finish is long and dry, with coffee reasserting itself right at the end.
And if all the chopping, sauteing and simmering of a from-scratch red sauce doesn't suit your schedule, this complex red will go beautifully with a medium rare dry-aged rib eye and a pile of pommes frites.
By Colette and John Bancroft. She is the Times' book editor, and he is a freelance writer specializing in food, wine and travel.