Everyday: The label of the Airfield Estates Vineyard Salute Yakima Valley Sangiovese Ruby Rosé ($15) did not inspire great expectations. It looked as though more money went into marketing than the wine “” and besides, a sangiovese from Washington?!? Seemed wrong, but it was I who was mistaken. This is a fabulous, dry but refreshing rosé, gentle but not wimpy, with an array of fruit flavors and freshness that lasts for minutes after swallowing. On the patio, or with all manner of picnic food, with fish or fowl or pork, this beauty will sing. And truth be told, that is a nicely done bit of label work.
Occasion: Every once in a while there comes a reminder of why so many of us fell for big, bold Aussie wines. The 2010 Flegenheimer Bros. McLaren Vale Reserve Red ($25) is just such a large-and-in-charge effort, with great grip and structure. There’s some smoke and a whole lotta blackberry and plum in this voluptuous blend of shiraz and petite sirah, and there’s almost no end to the hearty finish. I have had mixed results with cellaring Down Under reds, but I would have no problem setting this down for a few years. Or just rolling it out with a peppery slab o’ beef or lamb.