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Wine of the Week: Springing into spring — slowly

I don’t think it’s time to put trade in winter coats for cotton sweaters, nor swap out heavy reds for something lighter in the glass. (Thinkstock)

WASHINGTON — There have been as many swings in the weather lately as there have been in the stock market. And while the snow is — hopefully — all but a distant memory, I don’t think it’s time to put trade in winter coats for cotton sweaters, nor swap out heavy reds for something lighter in the glass.

Given the recent fluctuations in temperatures, I am sure that there are a few more chilly days ahead. And while I am optimistic that we’ll soon climb into warmer weather, maybe one more round of lamb stew or beef chili is in order — along with a big red wine or two — before I turn over a new leaf.

Here are a few suggestions for those of us who just aren’t ready to say goodbye to winter red wines.

The 2015 Gnarly Head Old Vine Zinfandel from California is good company on a cold night. Made from select vineyards throughout the Lodi region with grapes from gnarled 35 to 80-year-old head-trained vines, the fruit is exceptional, intense and full-flavored. The core of this wine is rich, featuring jammy blackberries, dark plum and mocha flavors. Layers of spice, black pepper and vanilla are due in large part to the combination of French and American oak. Try pairing this with beef enchiladas or chili. $10

Of course, nothing is more reliable to warm up a wineglass than shiraz. From the land down under hails the 2013 D’Arenberg d’Arry’s Shiraz Grenache from McLaren Vale, Australia. The nose features scents of damp earth, and black cracked pepper mingle with nutmeg and black fruit compote. In the mouth, flavors of dark plum and juicy raspberry run across the tongue, but are kept in check by abundant acidity. Chewy tannins provide a long, lush finish. $18

Say what you will about merlot, but the 2014 Thorn from The Prisoner Wine Company in California will definitely earn a warm welcome. This merlot is an untraditional version of the popular varietal, thanks to the addition of malbec and syrah in the final blend. It features flavors of blackberry, black cherry, chocolate and vanilla throughout the palate. Toasty oak and hints of cocoa combine at the end to provide a satisfying and weighty finish. $45

Looking for something decadent and ready to drink? Look no farther than the 2012 Tommasi Casisano Brunello di Montalcino from the Tuscany region of Italy. Aged three years in Slavonian oak casks before refining four months in bottle, it is a full-bodied, harmonious red, perfect for cold nights. Warm aromas of red cherries and cedar fill the bouquet. Its velvety texture supports flavors of black plums, red berries and dried herbs across the entire palate. The elegant finish has just enough firm tannin grip to remind you that it would be perfectly at home alongside braised short ribs or grilled steak. $60


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