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Plonk of the month, March 2007
 
Winter's-end reds
At home or abroad, find simple pleasures

March 28, 2007

During a recent stay in North Africa, our digs were located in the oldest part of an ancient city where alcohol of any sort is hard to come by. If we wanted a bottle of wine with our supper, we either had to hop a donkey to the modern part of town and eat in a hotel dining room, or ask the very accommodating young host of our riad to go to the trouble of bringing a bottle in -- something we found hard to do. As the wine-less days wore on, the modest cellar we left behind in Boston grew lavish in the imagination.

Later, sitting down to our first home - cooked supper in weeks with a bottle drawn from our very own cellar proved something of a thrill. Our conclusion: The pleasure of closing out the day with a simple glass of wine is easy to take for granted and hard to overrate.

With warm weather just a chilly night or two away, we remain focused on red wines this month: the kind we can enjoy with a warming bowl of homemade vegetable soup, long-simmered short ribs, or -- our current obsession -- a Moroccan-style chicken-in-the-pot featuring lemon rind cut into the shape of a tiny hand.

Don't be reluctant to buy these by the case, since you can count on any versatile lightweight to mid-weight reds to make a smooth transition to spring dishes, including Passover and Easter tables. All excellent value. Not having to straddle a donkey to sample them: priceless.

STEPHEN MEUSE

(Wendy Maeda/Globe Staff)
 
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