(Note: Beginning this week, I’ll be linking to Wine Searcher, the best site I know of for finding good prices on our favorite beverage, with each featured wine. I still recommend shopping local whenever possible.)
Everyday: It ain’t easy finding a stellar German riesling for under $20, and there might not be a better introduction to these wondrous white wines than the Weingut Eugen Muller Forster Mariengarten Kabinett ($18). Firm and fresh from the get-go, it’s a citrus and stone-fruit delight that finishes lovely and lively, with just a touch of spice enlivening the semi-sweetness. Hearty enough to pair well with pork roast, it’s also a nice match for Szechuan or Vietnamese food and grilled sausages with spicy mustard.
Occasion: Most amarones benefit from cellar time, but the 2007 Masi Costasera Amarone Classico ($60) is ready to roll “” and to rock your world. The usually raisiny elements are there “” it is, after all made from grapes that have been allowed to dry out “”but this is ripe, juicy and silky-smooth, with dark berry and tropical-spice notes on the formidable finish. And the guess here is that you could cellar this puppy for at least a decade. Try it with red meat and blue cheese, separately or together.