The 2012 Spellbound Petite Sirah from California (about $14 at supermarkets and elsewhere) is a lush and lusty, brashly fruit-forward example of its kind. Winemaker Robert Mondavi Jr. intends it to be an everyday table wine, but opening a bottle is its own cause for celebration.
This handsome red's fruit is as rich and dark as its color in the glass. Its bouquet is heady with blackberry accented by raspberry and warm spice. Blackberry is huge on the tongue and is underpinned by chocolate cherry, licorice and a nice brambly edge. The finish is medium-long, lush and silky. Overall, it is beautifully balanced, juicy in the best possible way and entirely quaffable.
Enjoy it with lasagna bolognese with buttery bechamel (but no tomato) or with a classic cassoulet of duck confit, pork sausage and white beans.
By Colette and John Bancroft. She is the Times' book editor, and he is a freelance writer specializing in food, wine and travel.