2002 Hess Select Syrah ($13). This lush, ripe California syrah -- a red-wine grape from the Rhone Valley -- needs an hour or two of breathing to really open up, but when it does, it delivers. The concentrated flavors of blackberry, blueberry, pepper and chocolate pack a punch -- making this an excellent choice for a cold winter night. This wine competes well with syrahs at twice the price. Serve it with red meat or a hearty stew or pasta dish.
-- Michael Dresser