Everyday: The gnarliest aspect of sampling a bunch of wines is that you’re getting snapshots and (often) not giving the wines time to evolve in the glass. Thankfully, I was able to do that with the 2010 Basilica Cafaggio Chianti Classico ($14). But that was not a prerequisite for enjoying this lively sangiovese, which was crisp, refreshing and balanced from the get-go. But the pretty red-berry fruit and just-right tannins and acidity evolved in the glass, and the finish got downright stirring. Bring on the flatbreads and pizzas with this baby, and roast chicken would cozy right up to it as well.
Occasion: A combo that’s hard to beat in these quarters: a barely familiar grape and Kermit Lynch’s name on the back label. The 2011 Domaine de L’Aujardiere Val de Loire Fie Gris ($22) fairly throbs with vibrancy and is the very definition of mineral/fruit harmony. Throw in some yummy Meyer lemon flavors and a long, tingly finish, and we have a wine that’s at least a sure salve for this insane winter in Tundraland. Rich seafood provides a great yin/yang for this beauty, but almost any fish or fowl will provide a swell experience.