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.