Spain's red wines should evoke earth and smoke more than oak, and the 2008 Bodegas Muriel Rioja Crianza ($15) fills the bill. The interplay of red-berry flavors, firm tannins, a touch of dustiness and spot-on acidity creates a harmonious delight, and the finish is spicy and sturdy. And while the winery's name might sound ordinary, it's actually an amalgam of the family that owns it (MurĂșa) and a nearby village (Elciego). Hunters should consider thawing out some game to go with this beauty; others can opt for braised or roasted beef or lamb, or a sausage-laden paella. Or just a cracklin' fire.

Available at Hennepin Lake, Thomas Liquors, Red Lion, Lake Wine & Spirits and others.

Bill Ward