$90 Bottle Deserves Best Beef
Spring Mountain Vineyard

With a wine like Spring Mountain Vineyard 2001 Elivette, our Wine of the Week, you have two excellent choices. The best course of action would be to put the wine in a cellar with perfect humidity and temperature and forget about it for a few years. Left on its own, the wine will soften and relax under the caress of time, as a startled feline eventually yields to gentle, rhythmic stroking.

Your other good choice is to enjoy the wine now, with beef. Beef, with its rich, full mouth feel, is the ideal canvas for this wine's youthful years, allowing its best qualities to shine and softening its harsher side.

Elivette is a classic Napa cabernet and displays perfectly the character and heritage of Spring Mountain, where the 1980s TV series "Falcon's Crest" was filmed. The wine is sophisticated and a tad haughty with a firm, somewhat austere structure.

It is full and round, yet its deep red fruit is restrained rather than brash and forward. There is a promise of silk and satin in the texture that is, in the wine's youth, veiled by untamed tannins. As the tannins age, the texture will unfold into a sexy maturity, a quality that will be enhanced by an earthy chocolate flourish and a hint of leather, nothing more, really, than the aroma left behind after you've slow-danced with a handsome suitor in a leather jacket.

As a traditional and well-made cabernet, this wine can, of course, be enjoyed with any food that is friendly to the varietal, from slow-cooked eggplant, mushrooms and sausages to certain fish -- halibut, in particular -- meat stews and burgers.

But at $90 a bottle, you ought to let the wine show you as good a time as it possibly can. And that means an excellent cut of beef, dressed simply and cooked rare.

Standing Rib Roast with White Pepper
(Makes 4 to 6 servings)

4 to 6 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons crushed white peppercorns
6 pound (3 rib) standing rib roast
Black pepper in a mill

Using a suribachi or mortar and pestle, crush the garlic and salt together until the garlic is nearly liquefied. Add the white peppercorns and stir to make a smooth mixture.

Set the rib roast on a work surface and use your fingers to rub the garlic mixture into the meat, including into any spaces between the meat and the bone or large pieces of fat. Set on a clean work surface, cover lightly and let sit for an hour.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Set the roast, bones down, on a rack set in a roasting pan and cook for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees F and roast for 45 minutes. Open the oven and insert an instant-read meat thermometer in the center of the roast. If the thermometer reads 115 degrees F, remove the roast from the oven, cover it loosely with foil, and let it sit for 20 to 30 minutes, during which time it will continue to cook. If the meat has not reached 115 degrees F, continue to cook it until it does, checking it every 10 minutes (be sure to remove the thermometer after each reading).

Carve the roast and serve immediately, with the mill of black pepper alongside.

Contact Michele Anna Jordan at michele@micheleannajordan.com.