Everyday: Sparkling wines should never, ever be saved for special occasions, but Super Bowl parties are not a bad time to trot some out. And while a lot of the cheap stuff will foster the myth that bubbles give people headaches, for just 12 bucks a bottle you can load up on the dandy Riondo Spago Nero Prosecco. Clean and lean with a touch of lush, it’s got lovely citrus and green-apple fruit, tingly effervescence and a seriously refreshing finish. This Italian delight shines with just about any party food extant, from wings and nachos to chili and chips of all ilks. At only 10.5-percent alcohol, it’s quite the quaffer, but is it’s being served at a party of such length, mixing it with orange or peach juice to make delicious mimosas or bellinis isn’t a bad idea.
Occasion: You don’t have to be a Seattle Seahawks fan to appreciate the wonderful wines emanating from Washington. Foremost among them might be red blends such as the 2010 Buty Columbia Valley 60 Merlot 40 Cabernet Franc. A seductive nose portends the gorgeous, big-ass blue and black fruit, which meshes splendidly with earthy and herby elements. Tons of stuffing and the wine’s concentration indicate it will age nicely, but the surprisingly silky finish is another reason to go ahead and dive in now. Those who can grill at this time of year should try it with traditional beef kabobs with onions, bell peppers and mushroom; roasted or braised beef will work in any clime.