Everyday: The notion that Beaujolais could serve as a harbinger for that year’s Burgundy vintage has been long discounted. But I’m here to tell you that the 2012 Elk Cove Vineyards Pinot Noir Rosé almost certainly is an indication that Oregon’s 2012 pinots will rock your world (which recent barrel tastings confirm). This is Elk Cove’s best rosé yet, with fresh florals and red fruit ““ not just berries but mostly (yum!) watermelon. And like some of the better Oregon pinot noirs, this refreshing wine doesn’t necessarily try to do or be anything other than a people-pleaser. Try it with all manner of seafood (even salmon) or similarly crisp summer salads.
Occasion: My fondest hope for California is that it will vastly expand its grape repertoire, find places where less-known grapes can shine. Spectacular wines like the 2012 Massican Annia show what can be done when someone like the recently deceased George Vare plants ribolla gialla smack dab in the middle of cabernet country in Napa, and what a gifted vintner like Dan Petroski can do with it. Another grape associated with northern Italy, tocai friulano, makes up 36 percent of this wine and chardonnay 18 percent to go with the 46 percent of ribolla gialla. Another welcome number: 12.7 percent alcohol. This blend is rich but refreshing, with layers of varying fruits and textures and a ridiculously long finish. End result: my favorite California white so far this year and worth buying direct from the winery. It’s got the body to play well with grilled pork tenderloin and the finesse to pair beautifully with seafood cocktail or soup.