Betsy marinaded some lamb chops in a mixture of pineapple juice, herbs (mostly rosemary), and garlic, the juice made me wonder re my usual lamb with Bordeaux combo and I decided to go to the Rhone. I chose the 2004 Chave "Mon Coeur" Cotes du Rhone, a negociant offering. Rather brawny for a CdR, with solid black cherry and blackberry fruit, a bit of vanilla, and a nice Rhonish grilled meat edge. I like this better than the 2003, it reminds me of the 2000 & 2001. There's a bit of a tannic backbone, but I think I'll opt to drink these early, as I felt the earlier vintages didn't really gain in complexity. Good if not great value at $14. B/B+
The lamb recipe was from the website Cooking for Engineers, which can be fun to read.
On day 2 with some beef stew (included a little chocolate in recipe, a little hint of mole) the Mon Coeur was showing some oxidation, but still a pleasant round CdR. The recipe had called for some white wine, after dinner I sampled the 2005 di Lenardo "Toh!" Tocai Friulano. A hint of sweetness to the pear fruit and a little short, but there was a touch of bitter almond and some real mineral notes to make it interesting. I wouldn't go out searching for this, but it offers decent QPR ($11 in a shop that is invariably most expensive around).
Grade disclaimer: I'm a very easy grader, basically A is an excellent wine, B a good wine, C mediocre. Anything below C means I wouldn't drink at a party where it was only choice. Furthermore, I offer no promises of objectivity, accuracy, and certainly not of consistency.