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Drinks: Wines that rock

Forty Licks Merlot, inspired by the Rolling Stones

Forty Licks Merlot, inspired by the Rolling Stones (seen here performing at the Prudential Center in Newark), is plummy, slightly spicy and food-friendly. (Dec. 15, 2012) Credit: AP

There are wines that signal the blues and some that are absolutely operatic. Then, you can sip along to the beat of "wines that rock."

This cleverly packaged series pays tribute to bands and grapes.

They're definitely party wines, fruity, fairly priced and pretty good. And the labels on the Mendocino vino jump off the shelf. Figure $16 to $17 each.

Start me up with the 2010 Rolling Stones Forty Licks Merlot, which you'll identify by the red-tongue image that signals the boys are back. The merlot itself is plummy, slightly spicy, versatile and food-friendly.

Understandably brooding is the 2010 Pink Floyd The Dark Side of the Moon Cabernet Sauvignon, which has a suggestion of cassis, a longer than expected finish, and an affinity with red meat. Not too subtle, as you'd expect.

More playful is the 2010 Grateful Dead Steal Your Face Red, a jammy and eclectic blend of syrah, petite sirah, zinfandel and Grenache. Enjoy the spice and the fruit and, unlike the band, a bit of vanilla.

Yes, there's a cherry note, too.

Adding Carignane and Viognier to the Dead blend is the 2009 The Police Synchronicity, a bottle of contrasts to go with every taste you take. You'll detect some strawberry in there, and the wine is more easygoing than Sting.

To wrap up on a crowd-pleasing, something-for-everyone sip: the citrusy 2011 Woodstock Chardonnay. Not stardust, but golden, with a hint of tropical fruit.

Imagine what will happen when they get to Led Zeppelin.

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