Everyday: Among the best movements in the wine world has been the spread of so many styles of vinifying chardonnay, instead of everyone (in the New World, at least) just aping Kendall-Jackson. The 2012 Vigilance Red Hills Lake County Chardonnay ($15) is a great expression of the grape, with a very ripe nose and large-and-in-charge, gorgeous tropical and melon fruit flavors, but a minerally undercurrent averting a hint of flabbiness. The long, fresh finish finds the perfect balance between lush and lean. Try this delicious white with pork roast, seared scallops with a fruit glaze or a corn dog (hey, it’s State Fair season!). The tasty new Eric Clapton disc, a tribute to the late, great J.J. Cale, is a swell soundtrack.
Occasion: My way better half generally eschews sweet wines, but even she was wowed and dazzled by the 2012 A.J. Adam Hofberg ($30). Importer Terry Theise‘s gushing about this vintage in Germany seems well-founded. I can’t remember the last time I had a wine with such energy, launching superb flavors (pear and apple) to the palate. The liftoff rockets its way through an insanely long finish. It’s exceedingly difficult not to consume an entire bottle in short order, so enjoy this with a companion. And with spicy food, Asian or Mexican, or some salty salumi. Like the wine, the greatest hits of Jackie Wilson will lift you higher and higher.