Everyday: It sometimes seems incongruous to me that when our abodes and skin are bone-dry for months on end up here in Tundraland, we lean toward dry red wines. The 2009 Ramon Bilbao Limited Edition Rioja ($16) is just such a dusty critter, especially on the long finish. But there’s plenty of dark-berry juiciness in this Spanish stalwart, along with some meaty notes and a hint of coffee. Try it with roasted meats or fowl, or some spicy sausage, either on its own or starring in a pasta sauce.
Occasion: The San Francisco Chronicle’s Jon Bonné nailed it this week when he named Steve Matthiasson the newspaper’s winemaker of the year. The man’s fab efforts start with a magical blend, the 2011 Matthiasson Napa Valley White ($35). A paragon of harmony (is “perfect acidity” too geeky an assessment?), it’s firm but layered and night onto endless. Countless types of fruit pop up — apple here, pear there, tropical fruits comin’ on strong — making it mighty tempting to make a liquid meal out of this admixture of sauvignon blanc, ribolla gialla, semillon and fruilano. Otherwise, try it with chicken or fish made in a Mediterranean, South American or Asian style. Yum.