Here are four wines to guide us through the transition of the seasons, including three hearty reds from France and a surprising Riesling from Virginia.
Château Mourgues du Grès Terre de Feu Costières de Nîmes 2012
Rhône Valley, France, $20
This blend of grenache, syrah and mourvedre comes from 70-year-old vines growing about three kilometers from the Mediterranean Sea. It is intense and mineral, and I felt the wine was evaluating me as much as I was trying to decipher it. A final resolution may require a night spent alone with it, man and wine in contemplation. ABV: 14.5 percent.
Eric Bonnet Réserve Saint Dominique Lirac 2012
Two and a half stars
Rhone Valley, France, $19
It’s rich, with a texture like the rough side of suede or leather and a saltiness that suggests the sweat on your upper lip after an autumn hike through the woods. Alcohol by volume: 14.5 percent.
Château Grand-Portail La Croix Blanche 2015
Bordeaux, France, $15
Last year was a ripe vintage throughout most of Europe, and this is one of the first Bordeaux to reach the local market. It is straightforward and a bit one-dimensional, but delicious in its upfront juiciness. ABV: 13 percent.
Ox-Eye Scale House Reserve Riesling 2014
Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, $22
Virginia certainly is not known for Riesling, but this one, grown high in the mountains above Staunton, shows minerality and terroir. Given a little time after you pull the cork, it blossoms into a beautiful wine. ABV: 11.6 percent.
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Three stars Exceptional, two stars Excellent, one star Very Good
Prices are approximate. Check Winesearcher.com to verify availability, or ask a favorite wine store to order through a distributor.