Everyday: I’m not even remotely a Luddite about the notion of tipicity, partly because if I were, wines such as the Domäne Wachau Terrassen Federspiel Gruner Veltliner 2010 ($15) would be easy to dismiss. Yes, there’s the stony vibrancy and purity one rightfully expects from Austria’s signature white grape, but the fruit is decidedly, shockingly tropical, with nary a citrus note (OK, maybe a teeny-tiny bit of Meyer lemon). Frankly, this is a dangerous wine, seriously juicy and fresh and, with only 12-percent alcohol, eminently gluggable. But it also would be delicious with moderately spicy Thai or Indian dishes, or some of the blackened fish recipes that seem to have plummeted out of favor in recent years.
Occasion: In my post about senior winemaker Ian Hongell, I didn’t delve deeply into descriptions of the Peter Lehmann 8 Songs Shiraz 2004 ($40) even though it might have been the best value in the bunch. It’s got the chocolate and plum notes that one often finds in Barossa shiraz but is infused with an underlying earthiness that really resonates. Most of all, it just plain tastes great. The layered flavors and textures probably come from using several different sites, but also make this deep, dark red a great match for peppery slabs o’ beef, Korean short ribs or lavender-laced lamb chops.