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The Weekly Dozen - Reds at the Ready

If you love to cook hearty meat dishes – leg of lamb, prime rib, roast rabbit in cream sauce, pot au feu, goulash, cassoulet – then you love big flavorful wines to go with them. We have some beauties in this all-red Dozen. But they don’t come cheap, as only two are under $20.

But it’s not a true winter’s feast without fine wines, so get ready to pour.

2018 Paul Mas “Saint-Hilaire” Pinot Noir Pays d’Oc Reserve ($13). There is no rule that all Pinots have to have the essence of Burgundy, as this one doesn’t. But it’s enjoyable and affordable, with concentrated cherry and raspberry flavors.

2016 La Valentina Montepulciano d’Abruzzo ($15). Fresh, spicy fruit with good acidity – a fine choice for an everyday house wine.

2016 La Valentina “Spelt” Montepulciano d’Abruzzo ($22). Enjoyable blend of red and dark berry flavors with a satisfying finish.

2014 Frescobaldi “Nippozzano Vecchie Viti” Chianti Rufina Reserva ($28). Even though it isn’t that old, the fruit has mellowed quickly, so the barrel notes dominate. Drink soon.

2017 Shaw + Smith Adelaide Pinot Noir ($33). Very nice, clean, classic Pinot with tight and tart cherry flavors and metallic, minerally notes in the finish.

2016 Henschke “Henry’s Seven” Barossa Red Wine ($38). Grenache-based blend has bright acidity and good, rich flavors of raspberries and blackberries without being too fruit-forward.

2017 Dutton-Goldfield “Dutton Ranch/Morelli Lane” Russian River Valley Pinot Noir ($48). Very, very, very red berry flavors with a little pickley note and a hint of cream in the finish.

2016 Mi Sueno Napa Valley Syrah ($55). Delicious, classic Syrah with rich, dark raspberry flavors and hints of dark brownies and earthiness. Great now, but will age well.

2018 Pfendler Petaluma Gap Pinot Noir ($55). Fruit-forward with lots of cherries, rounded body, but tart finish.

2011 Chêne Bleu “Héloïse” Vaucluse Red IGP ($83). Just a lovely wine from one of the Southern Rhone’s most-iconic winery tucked into the mountains of Ventoux. Fresh but integrated black raspberry flavors with a touch of woodsy, savory flavors; fresh, yet complex.

2011 Chêne Bleu “Abelard” Ventoux Red ($88). As with Heloise, great length and definition with mellow yet fresh cherries and a savory underlay – complex and delicious.

2016 Mi Sueno “Lynn’s Vineyard” Mt. Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon ($95). Archetypal Napa Cab – big flavors and fruit forward, yet well-balanced. Let open for an hour or so in order for the complex flavors to emerge – herbal, savory undertones, mellow oak, dark cherries, a bit of chocolate.

Prices listed are generally SRP or from wine-searcher.com.

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