Everyday: It wasn’t that long ago that albariño was hard to find in these parts. Talk about the Dark Ages. Blessedly, offerings such as the 2010 Senorio de Rubios Rias Baixas Albariño ($16) are part of a veritable onslaught of tasty whites from the northeast part of Spain. This is one bracing wine, with sprightly little touches of sweetness darting in, and about as refreshing a finish as a guy could want. It arrived just in time for sipping’-on-the-patio season, but this minerally beauty is splendidly suited for all manner of fruits of the sea, perhaps because of its undertones of salinity. The musical recommendation might seem a bit too obvious, but the passionate, buoyant, salty work of the Gipsy Kings is just the right choice.
Occasion: I’ve enjoyed some really nice wines from Israel, but nothing as profound and stunning as some reds from its northern neighbor, Lebanon. Chateau Musar has enjoyed justifiable renown for some time now, and Chateau Belle-Vue is carving out its own reputation. The 2005 Chateau Belle-Vue La Renaissance ($45) is plummy and yummy, hearty and soulful and resoundingly rich on the mid palate and finish. Just-right tannins and just-ripe fruit showcase a region of stupendous promise. This earthy red would work nicely with grilled renditions of “lesser” cuts of beef like tri-tip or flank steak. Or tenderloin. Or a burger. Slap on some stately, soulful sax music from Mr. Coleman Hawkins.