Everyday: Gotta say that I’ve been underwhelmed by (and a bit aghast at the prices of) most of the wines I’ve tried from Long Island. So the lean and clean 2013 Lieb Family Bridge Lane North Fork of Long Island Chardonnay ($15) was a major revelation in terms of the quality and the cost. A breezy chard (pretty sure I’ve never put those two words together before) with lovely green fruit (kiwi, lime), this beauty boasts fab flavors all the way through a generous finish, and the 12.5-perent alcohol level is major bonus. The fresh veggies of the season, especially juicy tomatoes and sweet corn, are beautifully suited for this refreshing white, but any ol’ fish or chicken dish will likely do, thanks to the wine’s spot-on acidity. And a little island music from the estimable Jimmy Cliff is the perfect soundtrack.
Occasion: I usually space out on doing a “10 favorite wines of the year,” but had I compiled one for 2013, the 2010 Cypher Winery El Pelon Mourvedre ($55) would’ve made the list easily. This is a monumental effort from the immensely talented Christian Tietje, who started the Central Coast winery after turning Four Vines into one of California’s foremost bang-for-the-buck brands. Big-ass, dark-fruit-and-earth flavors wallop the palate, but the structure is friendly and deep, and the finish lasts a full minute. Baby-back ribs were born to pair with this robust red, and grilled meat and game will cozy right up to it as well. The dark and brooding work of the National is particularly apropos as an added accompaniment.