Everyday: Sparkling wine just keeps getting better in many corners of the world, not least of them Spain. The wines of Cava are generally delightful and often superb; a fabulous intro is the Mont-Marcal Cava Brut Reserve 2009 ($15), lovely and spritely, alternately creamy and crisp with plenty of oomph on the finish. The juice is like a hybrid of green and yellow apples, with some citrus and stone-fruit notes contributing to the surprising complexity. Try it before, after or with a meal of almost anything; plop a strawberry into the glass, make some popcorn and sip it while watching a movie.
Occasion: I hate when this happens. The other night, we were reveling in the deliciousness and profundity of the Pol Roger Champagne Extra Cuvée de Reserve ($48) when we remembered that we only had a half-bottle. Wah. What a tasty, lush, sexy Scarlett Johansson of a wine this is. Just yeasty enough, it rolls its tingly way through the palate as the rich pineapple flavors pick up along the way. I can almost still taste the finish. This was Winston Churchill’s favorite wine, further evidence of how damn smart that guy was. The usual endless array of pairings for great bubbles — from salty snacks and sushi to fried chicken and chocolate — would mosey right up to this beauty.