Here are a few more interesting reds to help you make it through February.
2010 Veramonte "Ritual" Casablanca Valley pinot noir ($21). Quite floral with lots of red fruit notes, especially red raspberry. It’s balanced, but fruit-forward with only a few pinot cola notes. Takeaway: A nice wine, but not a traditional pinot.
2009 Veramonte Primus "The Blend" ($19). Bordeaux grapes with syrah. It’s a nice, rounded, cherry-fruit wine with good balance and a few pleasant herbal notes. Takeaway: A wine to serve on an afternoon for visiting friends with some snappy apps to munch on.
2010 Gerard Bertrand "Terroir" Corbieres ($15). A mixture of grenache, syrah, and mourvedre from the south of France with bright, rich fruits — from mulberries to raspberries. It’s a big wine — rich, good minerality, good acidity, long on the palate, moderate tannins, and a gamey finish. Takeaway: A big wine, but not a ponderous one, probably best drunk in the next five years.
2008 Gerard Bertrand "Grand Terroir" Tautavel ($19). Love this wine. A blend of grenache, syrah, and carignan, it is big, meaty, and savory with notes of chocolate and baking spices. Takeaway: It hits a sweet spot for wine lovers who like dark wines that almost taste like foods.
2010 Viña Zaco Rioja tempranillo ($15). Quite tangy, lean, and minerally, with some apple cider notes in finish. Takeaway: The kind of wine at the kind of price you want to see on a menu when you’re having red pasta and lean meats.
2009 Viña Pomal Rioja Crianza ($15). Similar to the previous wine, but a little fuller with ripe, but tart, cherries. Takeaway: Flip a coin between this one and the Zaco.
2010 Marrenon "Grand Marrenon" Luberon ($17). From mainly syrah plus grenache, the wine is smoky and earthy with dark cherry and elderberry flavors and is well-balanced and moderate tannins. Takeaway: An enjoyable wine for those who like big but not overly fruity drinks.
2010 Marrenon "Orca" Vielles Vignes Ventoux ($17). Bright, rounded, fragrant fruit — mainly red raspberry — with a touch of creaminess and a pinch of garrigue. Takeaway: This grenache-based wine is a perfect lunchtime red, full in flavor but light on the palate.
2011 Bocelli Rosso Toscana IGT ($16). Although 100 percent sangiovese, it’s more in the Beaujolais Villages style — friendly pastel raspberry fruit with just a touch of the sangio raspiness. Takeaway: An easy-drinking red that would be good lightly chilled for receptions.