Everyday: Gascony has really got a hold on me. I’ll be writing about the crazy-good wines from Tariquet in the next few days, but my original seductress from that southwest France region was a pair of wines from Domaine D’Arton. The Yse Rosé is lovely and lively, with the firmness of a light red and the crispness of a white. The Les Hauts D’Arton Blanc (a blend of colombard, sauvignon and sometimes gros manseng) has marvelous citrus flavors and just flat zings its way across the palate. Each can be had for $12, and both were made for grilled shrimp or pizza and even manage to pair well with fresh tomatoes.
Occasion: I dunno about you, but my finances seem unduly tight these days. So it’s seriously cool to come across a complex, robust domestic red for $22. The Seven Hills Columbia Valley Merlot is a perennial favorite, with marvelous harmony among the fruit, tannins and acidity, with some smoke and dried herbs thrown in, and a deliciously spicy finish. It’s friendly but substantial. While not a classic summer wine, it’s a swell option for anything beefy off the barbie, and we’ve actually enjoyed it with sauce-slathered ribs and chicken.