Wine picks: Five big-hearted reds

This article was originally published in February 2013

Nothing warms the heart quite like rich, full-bodied red wine. We’ve selected five of our favorite Big-Hearted, Big-Value Reds (four under $14, one for a splurge!) — and paired them with PCC-crafted recipes — to take the chill off these midwinter days. Consider the wines “romance in a glass,” with enough change to spare for roses and chocolate!


Naches Heights Vineyard “Carmen”

Naches Heights Vineyard blends Tempranillo and Monastrell grown in the Rattlesnake Hills of the Yakima Valley to create the vibrant and seductive “Carmen.” Swirling her ruby red skirts, Carmen is evocative of blackberry, plum, tobacco and spice. A brilliant balance of New World melody and Old World harmony, Carmen sings a fiery aria of her Washington state terroir.

Pair with PCC Grilled Portobello Sandwiches.


Masseria Li Veli “Passamante” Salice Salentino

Just beside the winery’s plot of Negroamaro is a forest known as “Passamante.” In ages past, lovers met secretly in this grove, which took its name from the Italian Passare (to pass) and Amante (lover). Seems fitting for a ripe and fleshy wine, made from 100 percent Negroamaro, which tastes of crushed red cherries, violets, cinnamon and tobacco. We think you’ll fall in love with Passamante — no need to hide in the forest to enjoy!

Pair with Pasta alla Matriciana.


Ontañon Rioja “Ecologico”

From deep in southern Rioja comes a wine that charms with its essence of plums and dark cherries and intrigues with a hint of coffee and fresh laurel. Made from 100 percent organically grown Tempranillo, this wine has been guided to greatness by the third generation of a winemaking family who knows how best to express their beautiful corner of Spain.

Pair with Roasted Tofu with Herbs.


Bodega Renacer Punto Final Malbec Classico

Malbec, a grape variety once used extensively in Bordeaux, has undergone a Renaissance in the shadow of the Andes Mountains. Argentina has embraced Malbec, creating wines that offer stunning value for all their power and versatility. Punto Final is no exception: You’ll enjoy a smooth, round wine redolent of black currants and blueberries.

Pair with Grass-fed Beef Burgers with Caramelized Sweet Onions.


Domaine Cécile Chassagne Gigondas

The jagged limestone peaks of the Dentelles de Montmirail form a dramatic backdrop to Domaine Cécile Chassagne. Cécile crafts a southern Côtes du Rhône classic: a Grenache-based, full-bodied wine. Although a splurge, it is less than half the price of its famous neighbor, Châteauneuf-du-Pape. With a burst of black cherries and cassis, followed by the finesse of sweet herbs and the spice of white pepper, this is a wine that will delight in its youth and seduce as it ages.

Pair with Simple and Sophisticated Cassoulet with Roasted Root Vegetables.

Related reading