This is the season when we all start searching for big-boy red wines to go with the braised meats and hearty stews we’re eating. The wines that will sustain us till spring feature bold spicy flavors, a full body, strong tannins and deep colors. The following three blind tasting champs are just the ticket.
Pasanau Ceps Nous, Priorat, 2011
We can’t leave Spain out of a discussion of big stunning reds, and no region hits the heights more consistently than Catalonia’s mountainous Priorat zone. Grown on vines planted on rocky black slate soils, Ceps Nous is garnacha-based with a dash of syrah. It’s got a spectacular combination of mocha, toasted almond and raspberry flavors. Liqueur-like and rich, this is a brilliant and memorable wine that will age for five years if you can resist the temptation to drink it now.
$27, Martignetti Liquors, Boston
Tasca d’Almerita LamÙri Nero d’Avola, Sicily, 2012
Sicily is sizzling hot, and nero is the island’s hero. No one does a better job with this emerging grape variety than the historic Tasca family estate. Aged in oak for a year, the wine has a smoky, baked-cherry and chocolate flavor. The name “lamùri” means “love” in Sicilian, and you might just find yourself swooning once you experience its lush, velvety charms.
$20, Bacco’s Wine & Cheese, Boston
Mitolo Jester Shiraz, McLaren Vale, 2012
Crazes come and go in the world of wine, and right now Australia is being ostracized for its recent outsized popularity. I have little doubt, however, that the country will soon come roaring back in favor if it keeps producing outstanding wines such as this shiraz. Leathery, raisiny, deep and extracted with coffee and juicy plum flavors, this is a silky, versatile and layered red that will easily complement sausages, grilled vegetables, risotto dishes or a zuppa di pesce.
$22, Brookline Liquor Mart