Everyday: Most albariños have fairly limited allocations in this neck of the woods. The Martin Codax Rias Baixas Albariño ($15), on the other hand, is as easy to find as it is to drink. Each of the half-dozen vintages I’ve sampled have been vivid and clean, but the 2010 and ’11 seem to have upped the ante, with expansive fruit flavors and a lovely lush/crisp interplay the whole way through the refreshingly vibrant finish. It’s a great winter salve but also pairs nicely with shellfish prepared any ol’ way, or roasted fowl, domestic or game.
Occasion: One of the great delights of the wine world is exploring the nether regions of, well, the wine world. I continue to marvel at the treasures of France’s lesser-known regions and wrote about them for my day job recently. The 2009 Famille LaPlace Madiran Ode d’Aydie ($25) is one of those treasures: lovely black and blue fruit, some grit, dark and deep with uncommon length. It’s almost certain to make you want to seek out more tannat. Pot roast (infused with Worcestershire for me) or grilled lamb (any cut) make ideal accompaniments. As does a crackling fire.