Everyday: Attention, all Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio lovers: You can get four bottles worth of your favorite grape for less money, and almost the same quality, if you have no hangups about getting wine from a box. The Folonari Delle Venzie Pinot Grigio($20 for 3 liters) is light and lively, full-flavored and balanced, with spritely pear and golden apple notes. It’s a hallmark of the improvement that have been made in such conduits, which have the added benefit of being friendly to the environment. Like many pinot grigios, it plays well with salmon but also with pesto and other basil-laden summer dishes.
Occasion: I have never come across a vintage of the Baumard Quarts de Chaume ($70-$85) that wasn’t spectacular, and doubt I ever will. This is a world-class dessert wine with astounding purity, satiny texture and a finish that always stands a chance of lingering into tomorrow. How a sweet, full-bodied wine can glide so effortlessly across the palate is one of those mysteries that make wine so alluring. It is also the very definition of how acidity can provide a constant undercurrent and counterpoint to perfectly ripe fruit. Try this chenin blanc with any peach- or citrus-laced dessert.