(Note: Beginning this week, I’ll be linking to Wine Searcher, the best site I know of for finding good prices on our favorite beverage, with each featured wine. I still recommend shopping local whenever possible.)
Everyday: It ain’t easy finding a stellar German riesling for under $20, and there might not be a better introduction to these wondrous white wines than the Weingut Eugen Muller Forster Mariengarten Kabinett ($18). Firm and fresh from the get-go, it’s a citrus and stone-fruit delight that finishes lovely and lively, with just a touch of spice enlivening the semi-sweetness. Hearty enough to pair well with pork roast, it’s also a nice match for Szechuan or Vietnamese food and grilled sausages with spicy mustard.
Occasion: Most amarones benefit from cellar time, but the 2007 Masi Costasera Amarone Classico ($60) is ready to roll — and to rock your world. The usually raisiny elements are there — it is, after all made from grapes that have been allowed to dry out —but this is ripe, juicy and silky-smooth, with dark berry and tropical-spice notes on the formidable finish. And the guess here is that you could cellar this puppy for at least a decade. Try it with red meat and blue cheese, separately or together.