With a seasonable chill in the air it's a good time to turn our thoughts to chewy red wines and robust chow.
A nice young everyday Cotes de Bordeaux from the slopes of the valleys of the Garonne and Dordogne rivers in France is the 2009 Chateau Grand Claret, available at wine-savvy markets for about $11.
This spry blend kicks off with a truly luscious nose of black cherries with anise accents and delivers on the promise of dark fruit in the glass, where black cherries and fig dominate, ably abetted by notes of caramel, coffee and dark chocolate. The mouthfeel is velvety with enough tannins to give it some backbone. The finish is only medium long, but it is satisfying.
Pair this red with beef, venison, pates or savory cheeses like an aged English cheddar or a well truffled goat cheese. It also would be just right sipped at fireside on a chilly evening.
By Colette and John Bancroft. She is the Times' book editor, and he is a freelance writer specializing in food, wine and travel. For an index and archive of reviews, go to pictograph.com.