Bring on the darkness! Days are short, dinners are rich, and everyone’s snuggling into cashmere sweaters and thick wool socks. That’s right, folks. It’s the perfect time to crack open an inky black petite sirah—one of winter’s most luscious and lavish seasonal delights. With boysenberry, violet, and spicy mocha aromas on the nose and a bold, blackberry flavor that lingers on the tongue, this is a wine worth breaking out of hibernation for. Even more so if there’s boysenberry pie involved!
• Ancient Peaks 2013 Petite Sirah—$36 per bottle; 22720 El Camino Real, Santa Margarita.
This juicy, bold syrah was crafted from dry-farmed fruit grown on a single vineyard in the Arroyo Grande Valley. Grown by none other than Giuseppe’s owner/chef Giuseppe DiFronzo himself (a man of many words, hand gestures, and talents), it is an extension of the family farm, where heirloom vegetables flourish before being harvested to adorn the chef’s rustic Italian dishes. Romantic story aside, this wine is not messing around. White pepper, black fruit, smoke, and barbecue notes come together to create a sultry winter red you’ll want to pair with spiced meatballs, wood-fired pizza, and that amazing heirloom tomato sauce you know DiFronzo canned over the summer. Now, if only he’d start selling that!
• DiFronzo’s 2014 Syrah—$45 to $50 a bottle; difrozovineyards.com.
Hayley Thomas Cain mourns the end of tomato season. You can send well wishes and winter libations to email@example.com.