Robust, Rich Wines Perfect For Mid-winter Blues

February 20, 2019
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You can warm up and break your cabin fever with some big wines that take the place of comfort food — robustly flavored, rich and on the high-end with alcohol.

The go-to grapes would include zinfandel, petite sirah and often cabernet.

You may feel like a prisoner during a cold snap. The Prisoner Red is big wine, a blend intended to mimic the “field blends” made by early winemakers from whatever was planted in their fields. The wine features zinfandel, cabernet sauvignon, petite sirah and charbono, wines with a long heritage in California. A ripe, sweet wine, The Prisoner smells of candied cherry and chocolate and shows intense flavors of ripe berries and vanilla. It’s a mouthful and better as a dessert wine. $44. 1/2

Brady Vineyards 2013 Paso Robles Petite Sirah has a blackberry jam smell and mouth-filling taste of black fruit, spice and vanilla with a soft-landing finish. $20. 1/2

For something drier and more traditional, try Clos du Bois 2015 Alexander Valley Marlstone, a California Bordeaux-style blend. This elegant, complex wine of berry, plum and clove character has the structure of the style it tries to emulate. It’s not a bad idea to get a few and wait three to five years for a future cold snap (or any occasion), although it would age for up to 10 or 15 years. At $25, this wine, usually retailing for $40-plus, is a deal. 1/2

I can’t write about big wines and not mention Michael David, which produces wines that drink like a meal. Try Earthquake Zinfandel or Petite Petit, a blend of petite sirah and petit verdot.

Remember, spring is around the corner, and many of these wines also pair with grilled meats.

GRADE: Exceptional ★★★★★, Above average ★★★★, Good ★★★, Below average ★★,

Poor ★.

DAVID FALCHEK, executive director of the American

Wine Society, reviews wines each week.