Everyday: I’m a big fan of the wines from Spain’s Txakolina region, but some of them can have the acid-fruit balance out of whack in favor of the former. Not the 2013 Talai Berri Finca Jakue Getariako Txakolina ($16), though, which is both racy and rich (OK, only a little rich, but that’s plenty enough for wine made from the Honarribi Zuri grape). This brisk but plush beauty boasts persistent melon and stone-fruit flavors and a wee bit of spritz, making it a nigh-onto-perfect summer wine. The 11-percent alcohol level qualifies it as even more quaffable. I’m hard pressed to think of a seafood dish short of salmon that wouldn’t sing with this wine; also can’t wait to try it with fried chicken. And the piercing but smooth vocals of Dolores O’Riordan in her late, great band the Cranberries.
Occasion: Mike Sullivan is one of my very favorite California winemakers; he might be surpassing his stellar work at Hartford Court with his recent releases from Benovia. The 2013 Benovia Russian River Valley Martaella Pinot Noir ($56) could be Exhibit A in the case of Why People Love Russian River Pinot: hearty but bright, with pretty, darker red fruit, some nice forest-floor notes and ample acidity and tannins. The midpalate and finish can only be described as lusty. Anything with mushrooms, from pizza to fowl prepared hunter-style to beef bourguignon, will play beautifully with this delicious wine. Plop on some Bonnie Raitt from any and every era of her fabulous career, and we’re talking a perfect evening.