Everyday: I like albarino just fine, but if i could choose to have just one Spanish white varietal for the rest of my days, I’d go with verdejo. It’s generally less expensive and more balanced than albarino. Exhibit A: the Naia Rueda Verdejo 2009 ($13), which has zippy fruit that glides through to a full-flavored, long finish. The aftertaste is almost better than the palate flavors. Try it with shrimp cocktail, chorizo-melon skewers or grilled fowl. By the way, this wine is the “second label” to the spectacular Naides Verdejo (around $30).
Occasion: It’s hard to imagine that any established Old World country is trying to catch up with California in making any type of wine, but that’s the case with cabernet-based Bordeaux blends. But the Frescobaldi Mormoreto 2007 ($70) matches up with any Cali cab or blend in that price range. It’s got full-flavored red and black fruits, touches of herb and earth and a silky, sexy finish. This is a refined and elegant red that will sing an aria with any great cut of beef. Of course, that should be a bistecca Fiorentina if you’re into that grows together-goes together thing.