Everyday: I’m not much good at blind tastings, but I often can identify a zin from Dry Creek Valley, for its distinctive dusty/herby (some called it briary, whatever that is) red fruit. The 2010 Dry Creek Vineyard Heritage Sonoma Zinfandel fits that profile splendidly, as have the previous vintages of this wine. The tannins are just firm enough, and the finish’s rustic tones deftly evoke the ground from which this sprang. Try this spot-on earth/fruit amalgam with baby back ribs, either with sauce or a Moroccan spice rub, or medium-spicy Mexican dishes.
Occasion: I am nigh onto giddy over the prospects for grenache blanc in central California. Two way-smarter guys who share that excitement are Tablas Creek’s Jason Haas and Bonny Doon’s Randall Grahm. The latter’s 2011 Bonny Doon La Cigare Blanc ($28) finds grenache blanc’s crisp, bright flavors melding beautifully with rousanne’s richness, forging a seriously harmonious beam of citrus and stone fruit, plus major lift on the midpalate. It’s a perfect pre-meal sipper, especially at 12.5-percent alcohol, and would be delicious with any rendition of fowl or fish.