Everyday: Eight is just enough when it comes to the number of grapes in the Cellar No. 8 blend ($10). I’m not nearly a good enough taster to pick out each component of that octet “” grenache, syrah, petitie sirah, cabernet sauvignon, merlot, zinfandel, mourvedre and sangiovese “” but I am savvy enough to discern that it’s darn tasty. I did pick up a bit o’ blueberry from the petite, plus some chocolate, red berry and coffee flavors, flowing over a dry, even leathery (in a good way) texture. Can’t imagine a better wine for a pizza party, or a burger-grilling gathering, but the array of grapes means that this hearty red can play with a wide range of food.
Occasion: Wondering what the Wine Geek World’s love for German riesling is all about? Well, one sip of the pure-as-the-driven-snow Selbach-Oster Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Auslese ($55) should provide a yummerific answer. As with most terrior-driven wines, especially in Germany’s wide-ranging climes, there’s some vintage variation with this semi-sweet offering. But it’s usually enjoyably profound and always profoundly enjoyable, with firmness, focus and a finish that persists mightily. Enjoy it as or with the first or final course of the evening, and it also loves most pork dishes.