Everyday: I like wines that are focused, and I’m also fond of wineries that are focused. Michael Honig has steered his family’s operation in a strong sustainable direction, and he has held the line on making just two varietals, a tasty cab and the always-excellent Honig Napa Sauvignon Blanc ($16, often less). The 2011 has the usual citrus and melon flavors and crisp, refreshing body. Pure as the driven snow, it shows off its minerality on the delightfully fresh finish. A few years back, some friends and I were instantly resuscitated by drinking this juicy white on a steamy New Orleans day. It’s also welcome with simple seafood dishes (sushi, fried or grilled shrimp), grilled bell peppers and herbed pork roast.
Occasion: Speaking of pure and clean, a recent chenin blanc kick has led me along a delight-filled path to the lush and lovely Francois Chidaine “Les Tuffeaux” Montlouis Sur Loire ($30). The rare white that could stand to be decanted, this off-dry chenin boasts evocative elements of pear and yellow/golden apple, and it’s really got the mineral/acid/fruit harmony thing goin’ on. Firm on the palate and finish, it’s got a surprisingly deep and layered finish. Try it with Szechuan or Thai food, soft cheeses and barbecued chicken or pork. Yum.