Our definition of comfort food is something that is satisfying and reliable without being overly complicated. Just eat and enjoy.
The same is true of wines. If we pay a lot of money for a wine, we feel the need to evaluate it and pass judgment. But a red at around $20 or under permits us just to enjoy drinking without much thinking — perhaps the best definition of a comfort wine.
Here are six such wines for your consideration:
Matchbook Dunnigan Hills tempranillo 2011 ($15)
A pleasant wine — one of the few varietals from this Spanish grape made in California — with rounded cherry flavors and spicy, fresh-wood notes.
Hahn Central Coast GSM 2013 ($12)
A 60/37/03 blend of grenache, syrah, and mourvèdre, it is a vibrant blend of berry aromas and flavors, mainly cherries and blueberries, that are creamy and mellow without being overly fruit-forward. Good closing acidity. Quite nice.
Faiveley Burgundy pinot noir 2012 ($20)
A pleasant, but light, starter Burgundy with mellow cherry fruit and a savory, chalky, dry finish.
Geyser Peak California pinot noir 2012 ($15)
Another pleasant, though not impressive, pinot with the pastel fruitiness of various ripe berries and some light bitters at the edges.
XYZin California old vines zinfandel ($14)
Spicy, full, ripe-berry flavors of currants, blackberries and raspberries. Very nice.
Gilles Louvet “Mon Pré Carré” IGP Mediterranée marselan ($14)
Lovely murky, dark fruitiness of marinated cherries and red vermouth with a nice spiciness. A rather elegant presentation of this somewhat rustic grape from southern France.