Everyday: When it comes to producing interesting, tasty wines at low prices, perhaps no region in the world outdoes Languedoc Roussillon. Exhibit A: The 2012 Laudon Chusclan Reserve de la Saurine Rouge ($9), a sturdy, hearty wine with layers of dark red fruit, nice grip and an exceedingly long finish for the price. The blend is 60 percent grenache and 40 percent carignan, so the fruit comes in nice layers. Sausages — and pasta, paella or pizza laden with sausages — would make for splendid accompaniment. As would the sturdy, hearty sounds of Gerry Mulligan’s baritone sax.
Occasion: I am loathe to evoke any part of Burgundy when discussing New World wines, but my first thought on my first taste of the 2011 St. Innocent Freedom Hill Chardonnay ($22) was how Chablis-like its steely minerality was. Then the tropical and stone fruits kicked in, and the glorious texture, and finally the splendidly harmonious finish. This is an Oregon wine through and through, it turns out, and the reason folks like Mark Vlossak (the winemaker of this gem) are so excited about the Willamette Valley’s “mulligan” with this varietal after whiffing on the clones during the first go-round. Salads with some protein and seafood with rich sauces are ideal matches, just like the gorgeous harmonies of Dion DiMucci and the Belmonts.