Everyday: Slowly but steadily, U.S. wine consumers are tumbling to the fact that bubbles are for more than just celebrations. Wines such as the Clara C Fiori di Prosecco DOC ($12) can only help further that notion. Nice sharpness and sweetness “battle” away and eventually create a harmonious, lemon-laced delight on the longish finish. The texture is gorgeous and the pairing possibilities endless. For starters, a few bellinis with any fruit juice (not just the traditional peach but also honeydew or even apple-cranberry). Fried foods of any ilk will mosey on up to this sparkler, as will a berry-laden salad or grilled lemon-herb chicken. The sweet and spicy duets between two titanic talents, Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong, provide the perfect soundtrack.
Occasion: One of the better grower-becomes-winemaker stories has unfolded in Napa. Tuck Beckstoffer’s 2012 Seventy Five Wine Co. “The Sum” California Red ($20) serving as a prime example. Wines this deep, dark and delicious rarely show up at this price point in California. The dark red fruit beautifully straddles the ripe/dusty tightrope, and the smooth finish packs plenty of heft. Despite its robustness – hell, maybe because of it − this is a splendid summer wine, at least when a grill is nearby, but I can’t wait to try it with autumn’s glorious root vegetables roasted within an inch of their lives. A spin through the Black Keys’ instant classic “El Camino” album is just the ticket while sipping this rich, rootsy red.