Everyday: The delightful 2012 Le Hameau Sauvignon Blanc ($9) is one of those wines that can be enjoyed without thinking or talking about it. But it is absolutely interesting enough to parse, as it leads with minerality and acidity before the limon (yes, like the Sprite commercial) and pear flavors kick in. Those elements dance deftly until the harmonious finish. (OK, maybe I shouldn’t be trying to parse it, just drink it). Enjoy it al fresco (only 12.5-percent alcohol) or with seafood dishes that you don’t have to think or talk about.
Occasion: When is a cabernet deemed an “unusual Napa wine”? When it’s packed with old-school goodness like the 2010 Corison Napa Cabernet Sauvignon ($80). It’s a deep, dark beauty, the berry flavors, spot-on tannins and dusty edges providing equal measures of intensity and elegance. It reminded me of why I fell in love with Napa cab in the first place, and a perfect fit for the “unusual Napa” tasting at last month’s Wine Writers Symposium because of its honest style. Break out the grill and a Porterhouse, or pair it with a rich duck dish.