Wines of the Week: June 29-July 5
Everyday: For a long time, few wines were more popular than Australian shiraz, almost entirely from the continent’s southeastern environs. That bubble has burst big-time, but maybe wines such as the 2011 Hazard Hill Plantagenet Western Australia Shiraz ($12) signal a renaissance from the other side of the land Down Under. This hearty beauty boasts beautiful aromatics and the biggish blue and purple fruit of its easterly peers but a good bit more acidity and structure, plus just-right grip and a wonderfully dry, briary finish. Bonus points for just 13.5-percent alcohol, which makes it compatible with grilled chicken and summer veggies as well as the usual burgers and brats. And, but of course, shrimp on the barbie — along with the stirring soulfulness of the inimitable Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown.
Occasion: It’s only been very recently that American pinot gris could be good enough to qualify as an “occasion” wine. Hastening along the process has been the discovery that Alsace’s foremost grapes could find a dandy home in Mendocino’s Anderson Valley (thanks, Navarro!). The 2014 FEL Anderson Valley Pinot Gris ($26) delivers great purity and focus, an almost sexy texture and delicious citrus and apple flavors. Not sure I’ve had a domestic pinot gris with this much depth on the finish. Ceviche or sushi are obvious matches, but any ol’ seafood or salad (or a seafood salad) will do. The lively, lyrical Kacey Musgraves’ new album makes for a spicy soundtrack.