Everyday: Maybe it’s the gorgeous aromatics. Or the fresh, vibrant fruit. Or the kick-ass dry, spicy finish. Actually, of course, it’s all three that make the Consumano Sicilia Insolia such a stone-cold delight. The last three vintages (2009-11) have featured bright, sunshine-y ripeness and just the right portions of acidity and minerally freshness. The insolia grape is called ansonica in Tuscany but finds its foremost expression in Sicily. It is used (with grillo and catarratto) to make the dessert and cooking wine marsala. Few whites are as versatile at the table, with spicy Italian or Asian dishes, most any chicken or seafood prep (especially zuppa di pesce, Italy’s bouillabaisse) and arugula-based salads at the top of the list.
Occasion: Year in and year out, the El Nido Clio Jumilla delivers rich, robust and complex but harmonious deliciousness. No matter the vintage (at least since the obscenely hot 2003 Europe-wide disaster), the tannins are beautifully integrated, creating a smooth, soulful drinking experience. This red from southeastern Spain is always about two-thirds old-vine (planted in 1944) monastrell and one-third cabernet sauvignon. Dense on both the nose and palate with dark fruit, cured meat and smoke, it’s not a wine for those who favor finesse. But it is a wine for those who favor grilled meats, stinky cheeses and sipping hearty wine by an open fire.