Everyday: Whoever wants to make vermentino on these shores “” and here’s hoping there are more than a few of you “” could do worse than to learn how the Yalumba Langhorne Creek Vermentino ($13) is crafted. This is a pure, snappy, balanced beauty. Nothing complex, just fresh fruit and herbal flavors, perfect late acidity and a marvelous aftertaste. Bonus points for coming in at 12-percent alcohol. All it asks for is a patio worthy of its refreshing citrus goodness. Or some shrimp or fish or pasta with light and lively seasonings.
Occasion: OK, so it’s not spring yet, which for me means it’s still syrah season, which is a (very) good thing. Especially when there’s something like the Spring Valley “Nina Lee” Walla Walla Syrah ($55) on hand. This is a big boy, bold and earthy but with a fabulously plush mouth feel and great dark fruit and tannins on the near-endless finish. It’s a wine for hedonists, who will especially appreciate the midpalate hints of chocolate and the overall lushness. Suitable accompaniments include standing rib roast, winter veggies, leg of lamb and/or a roaring fireplace.