Everyday: Ripe fresh fruit and just-right acidity are an unusual combination to find in red wines, especially for just $15. Well, say hello to the Chateau Coupe Roses “La Bastide” Minervois 10, which boasts blueberry and dried-herb flavors and a touch of spice at the end. September is a great time for medium-bodied reds like this blend of carignan, grenache and syrah. And it almost should have a chicken on the label, since virtually every preparation of fine de-feathered fowl will play well with “Le Bastide.” As will any dish festooned with olives.
Occasion: When it comes to reds, Piedmont is all about the “B’s.” But unlike Barolo and Barbaresco (regions), barbera is a great, and I can’t imagine that it finds any better expression than the Giacomo Conterno Barbera d’Alba ($43). Thick with gorgeous blue and black fruit, it’s juicy but dense, with a long and lovely, dry finish. Decanting is advised, to help the “hotness” burn off and bring out the coffee and chocolate elements. Big but balanced, this rich red plays well with hearty dishes of all kinds, especially if there are some seasonal mushrooms involved.