Everyday: I don’t think it’s being greedy to ask that domestic chardonnays have at least a bit of acidity. Well, the 2012 Columbia Winery Columbia Valley Chardonnay ($14) has more than a titch but far from too much. There’s plenty of lush tropical and stone fruit to play with the other elements, and the sweeter edges on the palate evolve into an incredibly clean, refreshing finish. This is a dandy appetizer wine — think shrimp cocktail, salted and/or spicy nuts, hummus — but it also can play nicely with most any fruit of the sea. The sharp, soulful music of St. Paul & the Broken Bones also makes for great accompaniment.
Occasion: For decades, Knudsen Vineyards has been supplying seriously swell fruit for Argyle’s excellent sparkling wines. So it should be no surprise that the 2012 Knudsen Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir ($55) makes for some sublime drinking. This is one of those ethereal, elegant, enigmatic wines that differs with every sip, except for the harmony and the refined finish. It’s the first proprietary wine from the Knudsens in nearly 40 years — and was worth the wait. Try it with pork or chicken infused with North African spices or salmon cooked any ol’ way. A wine this beautiful deserves some beautiful music, and it doesn’t get any more beautiful than Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony.