Rainy Day Wines
Well, here in NYC it's a rainy fall day, which always brings to mind (my mind, at least) dishes like the venison chili I made the other night, and wines like the 2005 Hendry Block 28 Zinfandel ($30, click to find it) that I opened to go along with it. The Hendry is a big, boisterous red, with lots of rich berry fruit, but a firm framework of tannins to support it. Not a small wine, but not a monster, either.
I don't know how much of the 2006 Chateau Blanc Un Autre Rouge Côtes de Ventoux (price a mystery) makes it to the US, since wine-searcher seems never to have heard of it, but if you like lively Rhône reds and you spot a bottle, go for it. Purple berries, a scent of violets, prickly tannins, rustic spice—couldn't be more Rhônish in nature. I suspect it's affordable, and write this in hopes that a wave of the stuff will soon appear on wine store shelves.
Another good wet weather wine, ideal with something like my ex-colleague Nick Fauchald's Beef and Lamb Burgers with Cheddar and Caper Remoulade—mighty tasty burgers that he concocted this summer for a story on wine vs. beer pairing—would be the 2005 Vallado Tinto ($25, click to find it) from Portugal's Douro river valley. A blend of various local grapes, it's deep garnet in color, dark, rich and dense with lightly baked Douro black cherry fruit—another red very evocative of the place it comes from.