Put a Cork in It

Comfort Wine Season    

As we hunker down for another snowy winter, we'll hear a lot about comfort foods, and justifiably so. There is something special about cozy meals. Personally, I can't imagine coming in from a long day of hot summer yard work and sitting down to a hearty bowl of beef stew. Conversely, I can't seem to shake how good that same stew would taste after splitting wood and shoveling snow.

There's less written about the season of comfort wine. It's actually not difficult to find wines that match the stick-to-your ribs fare we crave in cold weather. Most red wines have enough stuffing and character to be paired with a wide variety of slow-cooked, roasted or heavy-sauced foods. But if you really want intense reds to chew on, some excellent varietal choices would be Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel and Syrah. The challenge is to not get weighed down by their cost.

Fortuitously, we've found a Syrah that is currently not only my favorite comfort wine, but is being sold at a heck of a comfortable price. Try it during the next big snowstorm with a bowl of beef stew and see if you agree. ' Ed Thompkins, Heinen's wine buyer

The 2004 Rosenblum Vintners Cuvée Syrah is the newest wine in the stable from this noted California Zinfandel specialist. Simply put, this is a full-out Syrah celebration that's best served with your heartiest of creations. This dark, rich wine displays ripe blackberry and currants on the palate. Tasty notes of smoked bacon and chocolate flavors augment those, and all are put together on a smooth and satisfying frame. It's a classic example of getting a lot without spending a lot. That's pretty comforting! $10.99

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