There is no bad time of the year to drink red wine, but when cool weather begins to creep in, our bodies and palates kick into their annual lust for reds of substance. Here are 12 from around the world to enjoy now:
Graffigna “Centenario” San Juan Malbec Reserve 2014 ($12). This Argentinian shows rounded but not over-ripe fruit, a few savory notes, good acidity; a very pleasant drinker.
Thommasi “Rafael” Valpolicella Classico Superiore 2013 ($16). Lean and dry — a very good food wine, similar in profile to a superior Bordeaux except for its light raspberry flavors.
Charles Smith Casasmith “Porospino” Wahluke Slope Primitivo 2014 ($18). Delicious — blackberries blended with crusty crème brûlée.
Charles Smith Casasmith “Cervo” Wahluke Slope Barbera 2014 ($20). Soft, fragrant, and spicy, with moderate tannins and good structure with a flick of carbon minerality.
Charles Smith Casasmith “Cinghiale” Wahluke Slope Sangiovese 2014 ($20). Nice, tangy fruit with a creamy middle taste.
Caiarossa Pergolaia Toscana 2011 ($23). The second label of the famous Caiarossa super-Tuscan, this is a very well-structured blend of Italian and Bordeaux grapes with medium body and lots of gamey notes and moderate tannins.
Flora Springs Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 ($38). A rounded, delicious mixture of red and purple fruits with dark cherries dominant, full but not fat, with some savory and barrel notes in the finish.
Arínzano La Casona Pago di Arínzano 2008 ($39). Rounded cherry flavors, good fruit in general, and a touch of creaminess, but could have a touch more impact in the finish. For fans of Manuel Louzada and his Numanthia wines: This is where he now resides (though he didn't make this wine).
Jon Nathaniel “Bodacious” Napa Valley Red Wine 2013 ($60). Quite nice black raspberry flavors with some toasty barrel notes; enjoyable but not layered or complex.
Caiarossa Toscana 2011 ($62). A nice blend of several varieties, but the sangiovese steps out with its raspy tanginess. Lots of complexity and stuffing; this would be great with red meats or ripe cheeses.
Flora Springs Trilogy Napa Valley Red Wine 2013 ($68). Perfumed, rounded flavors of ripe cherries; full-bodied with dusty tannins and good finishing acidity.
Michael Mondavi Family “Animo” Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 ($75). A big wine but not an aggressive one, with good balance of dark cherry flavors, mocha, and chocolate; very enjoyable.