Given that we've already sloshed our way through one tropical storm, I'm late with this bit of advice: what wine to stow in your hurricane supplies.
I'm not advising a drunken hurricane party (although having grown up in Florida I've been to a few). But in the storm's aftermath, a soothing sip may be welcome.
Choose reds, and if possible reds with screw caps. Why not summer whites? When it comes down to what goes in the ice chest after the power goes out, you don't want to have to decide between milk for the kids' cereal or chardonnay for you. And screw caps because you don't want to hunt for a corkscrew amid the chaos, and because my totally unscientific research suggests wine in screw cap bottles keeps better after opening.
As for which red, leave the big, serious cabs for calmer times. Look for a light, lively red like Layer Cake 2014 Pinot Noir, widely available at about $14.
Made with 100 percent pinot noir grapes from California's Central Coast, this wine is fermented on both new and aged oak barrels. On the nose, it offers refreshing notes of pomegranate and blackberry, with a hint of warm spice.
There's plenty of fruit on the tongue, notably ripe plum, blackberry and cherry, accented by a touch of cinnamon and soft tannins. A hint of smoke, dark chocolate and more cherry carry through on the finish.
If you really are contending with apres-storm power outages, this wine is lively and flavorful enough to take your mind off the limited appeal of canned chili heated up on the grill. If there are no storms on the radar, it will pair happily with anything from a grilled cheddar and bacon sandwich on sourdough to a plateful of tender little loin lamb chops.
Colette Bancroft, Times staff writer