Everyday: Looking for a Super Bowl party red? Or just a bargain hang-by-the-fireplace wine? The 2010 Bogle California “Essential” Old Vine blend ($11) more than fits either bill. Packed with flavorful fruit from four grapes (zinfandel, syrah, cabernet sauvignon and petite sirah), this hale and hearty red is somehow both chunky and smooth. Black-pepper notes help it hint at the earth from which it sprang, and it finishes with a clean robustness. For those of us who like to bake us up some baby backs in the winter, this is an ideal wine, but it also should play well with pizza, mushroom risotto (or mushroom anything) and some rich meatballs.
Occasion: Despite my recent predilection for minerally whites, it’s too damn cold to think about anything but a big ol’ red. But to add some elegance to the proceedings, a Bordeaux blend from Washington seems in order. The 2008 Powers “Champoux” Reserve ($45) is long and lovely, bold but refined. The layers of complexity might be due to a fascinating ratio of grapes: 50 percent cabernet sauvignon, 27 percent cab franc and 23 percent merlot. Whatever the reason, every sip of this beauty brings something a bit different, a little like my favorite pinot noirs from neighboring Oregon. Enjoy this with duck, lamb shanks, London broil or a nice hunk of aged cheddar.