Oak can impart myriad flavors to a wine, and one of the most common is smokiness from the toast on the barrel. The 2011 Encanto Mencia Roble ($14) has the perfect blend of that smoke and some big ol' red-berry fruit. We're talking a mouthful of flavor and texture, plus a near-endless zingy (and toasty/fruity) finish. I can't think of a better introduction to the mencia grape than this robust Spanish red. Grilled or roasted meats are an obvious pairing choice, but hard cheeses and spicy Tex-Mex dishes belong on the list as well.

Available at Stinson, South Lyndale, Wine Thief, Oaks Wines and Spirits and Village Wine and Spirits.