Everyday: Spanish reds that are both rustic and ripe fit squarely in my wheelhouse. The 2011 Protos Tinto Fino Ribera del Duero is just such a wine, tasty and hearty, with ripe fruit and that earthy/dusty thang jostling back and forth all the way through the substantial finish. The winery opened in 1927 and won gold medals at the 1929 World Exposition in Barcelona, an event that makes me long for a time machine. Hearty lamb or spicy sausages and Cajun dishes pare great pairing options. The rollicking new gem by veterans Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers is a splendidly suitable soundtrack.
Occasion: Consumers should be just as excited as West Coast winery folks are about the 2012 vintage, as I recounted in my other venue this week. Typical of that year’s bounteousness is the 2012 Sojourn Rodgers Creek Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir ($48 at the winery, $55 average on wine-searcher). Herbs and other forest-floor elements dominate the nose, and bright, complex berry/cherry flavors roll across the palate. The fruit, tannins and acidity stay in perfect harmony throughout. Some fall game — pheasant, quail, wild boar — or simple roast chicken and/or winter squash will cozy right up to this wine. The smooth but powerhouse work of one of rock’s first supergroups, Blind Faith, is the perfect playlist.