Everyday: “This smells like the best pear ever,” I said last night after sniffing the Saracco Moscato d’Asti 2010 ($18). “Actually, it smells better than the best pear ever,” someone chimed in. True that, and it tastes pretty fantabulous as well. Seriously fresh, perfectly sweet and enticingly fizzy, this is a signature rendition of this grape. We had it with a lemon tart, and the match was stunning, but this gem should work with most any fruit dessert. And at 6-percent alcohol, it makes a spectacular late-afternoon outdoor quaffer.
Occasion: Used to be, Barolos required a buttload of cellar time before showing well. That’s still often the case, but the 2006 Vietti Castiglione Barolo ($45) is drinking beautifully right about now. The firm tannins indicate that it will age just fine, but the nose — redolent of the kind of violets one usually gets more from Tuscan than Piemontese reds — followed by cherry-berry fruit, dust amd minerality, a mix that yields backbone and balance. The finish is formidable and pleasurable. Try this firm, focused nebbiolo with grilled meat (white or red) or pizza.