Everyday: Strange as this might sound to wine novices, I always like to taste a little “dirt” in an Old World red. I’m not sure if that’s because it evokes terroir or just a basic connectivity to the vineyard, and trying to figure that kind of thing out takes some of the fun out of it. The Joan D’Anguera Montsant Garnatxa 2010 ($16) has that almost literal earthiness at the outset, followed by big dollops of grenache’s signature red berries and spice. It boasts the kind of firmness and stuffing that is hard to find at this price point, and a compelling finish. Roast chicken and grilled or roasted veggies were made for this “dirty” red.
Occsasion: A merchant whom I respect mightily called the Nicolas Joly “Les Clos Sacres” Savennieres 2008 ($50) his favorite white of the year, and I’m not about to argue. It’s slightly oxidized, but a lot less so than most wines from N. Joly, and throws gorgeous stone-fruit and nut notes at the palate. The finish is almost endless, with refreshing acidity and taut flavors. Pretty sure I’ve never sampled a more persistent, focused chenin blanc. Endless are the food-pairing possibilities, from the grilled Tuscan chicken and peach entree we loved with it last night to most anything in between.