Here are wines to help with a sudden fall chill, including some from the historic California wineries featured in the Smithsonian's program “America's Wine: The Legacy of Prohibition.”

Gundlach Bundschu Merlot 2009/2010

Three stars

Sonoma Valley, Calif., $32

It's easy to focus on new names and labels while taking older wineries for granted. And in our decade-long aversion to merlot since the movie “Sideways” made us fall for pinot noir, we tend to forget how good merlot can be. Here's a worthy reminder. Alcohol by volume: 14.5 percent.

Bacchus in D.C. and Maryland.

Pedroncelli Zinfandel Mother Clone 2011

GREAT VALUE Two and a half stars

Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County, Calif., $18

“Mother clone” refers to vines propagated from the original vines in the vineyard purchased by John Pedroncelli Sr. in 1927. This wine is textbook Dry Creek zin, with raspberry and cranberry flavors and a spicy edge that suggests wild sage. ABV: 14.8 percent.

DOPS.

La Posta Campodifiori 2012

Two stars

Benevento IGP, Italy, $22

This lovely wine from central Italy sings for its supper of seafood, with briny minerality and pinpoint acidity backing its core of citrus. It's a food wine, though I can hardly resist gulping it. ABV: 13.5 percent.

Kysela.

Sawtooth Skyline Red 2010

GREAT VALUE Two stars

Idaho, $15

I'm a big fan of this winery for its outstanding Riesling, delightful chardonnay and succulent syrah. This juicy blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, tempranillo, petite sirah, petite verdot, malbec, syrah and grenache defies any paradigm of a red blend from anywhere around the world by combining Bordeaux, Spain, California and the Rhone in one. It's a wine that could be found nowhere else but America, and it shows a sense of adventure that comes through in the glass. ABV: 13.5 percent.

Vino 50/Siema.

Enate Chardonnay-234 2012

GREAT VALUE Two stars

Somontano, Spain, $15

Spanish chardonnay? Why not, when it's this good: an excellent unoaked version with lots of tree-fruit flavors and mineral talc notes, along with a hint of tropical fruit and an invigorating citrus finish. No, it isn't masquerading as Chablis, the pinnacle of unoaked chardonnay, but this is a delicious expression of the grape. ABV: 14 percent.

M Touton.

Three stars Exceptional, two stars Excellent, one star Very Good

Check Winesearcher.com to verify availability, or ask a favorite wine store to order through a distributor.