Everyday: Viva Italia! In recent years, the Italians have mastered the making of crisp, refreshing white wines with striking but not overwhelming acidity and minerality “”and found a way to do it for under $20 a bottle. The Argiolis Vermentino di Sardegna Costamolino ($14) boasts a gorgeous nose of tropical and citrus fruits, and those flavors wash over the palate, braced and embraced by zingy undertones, through the long, clean finish, It’s easy to envision oneself sipping this on Sardinia’s striking Costa Smerelda. And slurping oysters, or earthy antipasti, shellfish, fresh pasta and vegetables, sushi or a mixed-green salad.
Occasion: Some of the most fascinating wines in America are coming out of the cool reaches of northern Marin County. The Dutton-Goldfield Devil’s Gulch Pinot Noir ($58) often comes in at just over 13-percent alcohol but always starts with lush fruit before veering in a more Burgundian direction. The dense, earthy midpalate showcases its oomph and elegance, leading to a chunky, complex finish. It’s the kind of wine that, for me, can be said to “taste like the ground it came out of.” Herb-laden roast chicken, grilled pizza and even a juicy steak would be swell accompaniments.