Everyday: Gascony is best known as the home of “The Three Musketeers,” but at my house it’s also regarded as a fantastic place to find wine bargains, especially on the white side. Made with the colombard and ugni blanc grapes that are part and parcel of Cognac and Armagnac, the 2013 Domaine de Pouy Côtes de Gascone ($10) is lean and clean on the nose and palate, a fairly straightforward but eminently tasty wine with a round but firm mouthfeel and a focused, long finish. It’s got the fruit/minerality/acidity thing nailed, with enough of the latter to be a grand pairing for oysters. Or most any other seafood, not to mention summer salads and fried chicken. Complementary tuneage for this stone-cold delight: Los Lobos’ super-tasty “Kiko” album.
Occasion: Just because grilling season might be waning (except, of course, for tailgaters) doesn’t mean that char- and spice-happy zinfandels are fading with it. The 2012 Rodney Strong Knotty Vines Northern Sonoma Zinfandel ($20) is the kind of zin that can do double duty, melding beautifully with baby backs and brats, but also with roasted and braised meats and veggies of the cooler seasons. This semi-hefty beauty is a deep, dark offering with more than a little cocoa and West Indies spice notes and an uncommonly long finish. The rough-and-tumble blues-rock of Benjamin Booker, one of the music world’s rising stars, is a swell soundtrack