Everyday: One of the challenges of reviewing is touting wines that are made in a style that’s not to my liking, but that fits many consumers’ wheelhouses. I used to love New Zealand sauv blanc, but the wines – and probably my palate – changed, and now … well, it’s a lot easier when there are wines such as the 2012 Wither Hills Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc ($13) around. It’s cleaner (especially on the finish) and less acidic than most of its brethren (sistren?) but is unmistakably Marlborough sauv blanc, with tasty, just-bracing-enough grapefruit and grassy notes and a vibrant mouthfeel. Quaff it with some shrimp scampi or tempura or chicken salad.
Occasion: Could a wine from Minnesota possibly be worth $25? Abso-tively, in the case of the Alexis Bailly Voyageur ($25), an earthy, tasty, dare I say lusty (of course I dare say lusty) red blend. Herby and hearty with very expressive red fruit and more than ample structure for aging, this is winemaker Nan Bailly’s masterwork. It’s made with “lesser” cold-hardy French grapes such as Marechal Foch and Leon Millot (much of it planted by Nan’s father David when he started Minnesota’s oldest winery in 1973) and frontenac, a 1996 release from the University of Minnesota operation that also brought us the honeycrisp apple. Enjoy it with winter braises or cassoulet.