Everyday: For nigh onto a decade, the Hogue Fumé Blanc was our go-to crisp weeknight white. Well, Mike Hogue has moved on and started another winery, and the Mercer Estate Columbia Valley Sauvignon Blanc ($14) has that signature liveliness and value. Very floral — but not with that grapefruit/grass/gooseberry thing that is overwhelming New Zealand sauv blancs — this is spicy, fruity (but not too) and seriously tasty. Some lemon-herb grilled chicken or sauteed fish is calling its name, along with most salads.
Occasion: I’ve had some amazing chardonnays from Burgundy recently, but the region’s other white grape provided a wonderful experience, and a revelation to boot. The A&P De Villaine Bouzeron Aligote 2008 ($27) boasts some stimulating stone-fruit flavors, laced with a touch of tropical spice, and spot-on acidity. Not to mention extraordinary length for a white (although it is, after all, from Burgundy). Almost any seafood dish, even the richest ones, and summery, sweet/savory Mediterranean concoctions — tapenade, caponata and peperonata — would sing with this bold offering.