Everyday: I’m firmly on board the moscato bandwagon, whether it’s inexpensive domestic stuff (Barefoot, Robert Mondavi) or the more complex offerings from Italy such as the Seven Daughters Veneto Moscato NV ($14). There are waves of flat-out delicious fruit in this white delight, plus racy undertones that keep the lush mouthfeel from cloying up matters. A touch of effervescence to go with that sweetness make this a spot-on choice for holiday gatherings, pairing well with sweet and savory dishes. And at 7.0-percent alcohol, it’s a safe choice as long as guests don’t guzzle.
Occsasion: Last week at the fabulous Ferry Plaza wine bar in San Francisco, I got my first shot at a 2009 ChÃ¢teauneuf-du-Pape, and it will be far from the last. The Pierre Usseglio & Fils ChÃ¢teauneuf-du-Pape ($49) is big and bold but supple and smooth, with bright and dark red fruits, spicy notes and bracing tannins that softened in the glass as we savored it. Try it with osso buco or other hearty meals that originated with a cow, or lavender-laced lamb chops off the grill. This is the perfect gift for red-wine lovers, including your own bad self.