If you're looking for a fresh, uncomplicated red to accompany a homey dinner of, say, meat loaf and mashed sweet potatoes or your secret recipe chili, then we've got the wine for you: The 2010 Gravelly Ford California Petite Sirah goes for $10 to $12 a bottle at wine-savvy markets and supermarkets.
This wine drinks young, with an abbreviated finish and without the evolved tannins that characterize more intensive vinifications of the most commonly grown grape in the United States. The price point, however, argues in its favor.
Its bouquet is gusty with blackberry nuanced with warm spices. On the tongue its juiciness and youthful vigor show in exuberant blackberry and red plum with a pinch of the warm spice introduced on the nose. Its finish is no longer than medium, at best, although a little chirp of light brown sugar pops up at the end.
In addition to pairing with homespun suppers, this petite sirah would go nicely with a plain bar of good dark chocolate for dessert.
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.