Everyday: Seeing the word “Montsant” on a wine label is almost always a harbinger of good things inside, as most everything that reaches U.S. markets from that Spanish region is well made. The Capcanes Costers del Gravet Montsant ($18) is way more than all that, one of those wines that is somehow both rustic and elegant. A blend of cabernet sauvignon, grenache and carignane, it’s very dark in color and flavor: Blackberry and black cherry flavors roll over the palate and linger languidly during the smooth finish. Winter grillers can throw almost any meat onto the barbie to pair with this; stews and braises are another swell option.
Occasion: There’s been a lot of buzz about New Zealand pinot noirs, but I have found them to be an uneven lot. But the Craggy Range “Te Muma Road” Pinot Noir ($40) is a Kiwi standout, biggish and gorgeous with expressive red fruit flavors (raspberry, strawberry, Bing cherry) and a slightly smoky finish. I’ve been enormously impressed with all of Craggy Range’s wines, especially the reds from the Gimblett Gravels appellation. This one is primed to be enjoyed with roast fowl (game birds or domestic), herb-laden lamb dishes and of course that pinot noir staple, salmon.