Everyday: For year’s, Concha Y Toro’s line of Casillero del Diablo wines have provided fine value. But the 2012 red blend brings this line to a whole ‘nother level. Deep and dark, replete with coffee and dirt lacing through some firm red-berry fruit, this is a quaffer that also could be served at a fancy steakhouse. It’s got surprising oomph for a $12 wine (often marked down a good bit) and is another reminder that it’s time to break out the grill. Besides burger, brats and the aforementioned slabs, this hearty red will play well with roast chicken and root vegetables.
Occasion: Friuli is known primarily for its white wines, although the northeastern Italian region is home to some swell reds. Most of the whites are made as varietals, but my perennial favorite is a blend. The 2012 Zuani Vigne ($20) showcases all four of its grapes: lean friulano, rich chardonnay, brisk sauvignon blanc and tropical pinot grigio. A veritable fruit cocktail, it’s got beautiful spice notes and just-right acidity through the luxuriant finish. I’m hard-pressed to imagine a seafood or fowl dish that wouldn’t cozy up to this gem of a wine.