Paso A Paso Tempranillo, a big-hearted red from Spain's La Mancha region, is just the ticket for holiday tables. It's priced right, too, usually about $11 to $13 at wine shops and wine-savvy markets.
Its simple orange label bears no vintage date, indicating that organically grown tempranillo grapes from various harvests are blended to produce an aged-in-oak varietal of nice complexity that also is eminently accessible.
This deep garnet wine shows its generous nature the instant its cork is pulled, delighting the nose with luscious aromas of warm caramel and ripe black fig even before it opens in the glass. It delivers on the tongue, as well, with dark fruit, especially black cherry, underpinned by fig and coffee leading the way. At mid palate, chocolate, caramel and mellow leather assert themselves and that deep, figgy note resurfaces on the medium-long creamy finish. Tannins are not much to the fore but they are there, giving a lushly quaffable wine just enough structure.
We would pair this boisterous red with full-flavored hard cheeses like the piquant but buttery sheep's milk manchego that also hails from La Mancha. It would go well, too, with hearty meat dishes, like pork roasted with fall vegetables.
By Colette and John Bancroft. She is the Times' book editor, and he is a freelance writer specializing in food, wine and travel.