Another gray day in Michigan. Thinking of something robust for dinner? Soul-warming pasta, deep-dish pizza or even a juicy burger? Here are two picks to dial up your comfort level. The Kim Crawford Pinot Noir is a new release. New Zealand marketing specialist Tom Maling, above, shows the Kim Crawford brand at left.
>> Kim Crawford Pinot Noir Marlborough New Zealand 2011, $18: This baby is still so young and closed in, but smell and taste — and you can get a good picture of how this wine will evolve. On the nose, it has tons of cherry-berry fruit, ripe plums, dark chocolate and spice. In the mouth, the fruit is amplified, framed by acidity, supple tannins and integrated oak. Kim Crawford wines have turned into a New Zealand sensation, embracing modern viticulture, winemaking and marketing. They have been a hit with critics for many years.
>> Ravenswood Vintners Blend Petite Sirah California 2010, $10: Growers like to say there is nothing petite about Petite Sirah and Ravenswood believes in no wimpy wines, and it’s guaranteed this big, bold, purple monster will give you zombie teeth. This one is more on the approachable side that will sit well with guests who are amateurs or connoisseurs. Think dark berries, dark plums, dark chocolate and bold roasted coffee. It’s aged 18 months in French oak, a third new, which adds to the complexity and overall quality. And for ten dollars! Oh, my!