Concannon, 2009 Petite Sirah Conservancy Livermore Valley (Calif.), $15
Could you ask for more? Intense color, fruit and flavors combined with supple tannins and acidity. This is a fruit bomb of thimbleberry, cherry, raspberry, espresso, and dark plums. On the palate, the spicy, smoky oak wafts through the flavors. Like John Concannon likes to say, there is nothing petite about Petite Sirah. This is a dry, brooding dark red wine that calls out to burgers, pizzas, stews and roasts to bring it on. The price is just as appealing — and that’s SRP. Look for sales. Part of the proceeds of this wine go to pay for protections to keep the land in agriculture. The Livermore Valley is due east from San Francisco — a quiet, family-oriented wine region for wine lovers to discover.
Clif Family Winery, 2010 Napa Valley Red Wine Blend “The Climber” Limited release, $28
This is a dry, brooding red wine that is 63 percent Merlot and 37 percent Cabernet Sauvignon from prime sites in Napa. It’s tightly stitched, age-worthy but still imparting a glimpse of its future — dark ripe plums, brown baking spices, currants, cherries and raspberres, infused with spicy, smoky oak and supported by acidity and supple tannins. It’s still closed in, but exudes that spirit of Napa after spending almost two years in French oak. Clif Family? Think those Clif health bars. This is a worthy Napa blend that would love to sit on your dinner table or nap in your cellar.