Everyday: I had a great time writing about one of my favorite wine regions, Alto Adige, for my erstwhile day job. One of the inspirations for the column was the fabulous, fascinating and utterly fulfilling 2013 Abbazia di Novacella Valle Isarco Alto Adige Kerner ($19). Replete with green fruit (kiwi, Key lime) and mountain-air freshness, this gem’s fruit-acid-mineral harmony is persistent through the refreshing finish. Given its Alpine background and the ol’ grows-together-goes-together deal, this would be a super addition to a fondue party, but also would play well with trout, spring salads (especially with chicken) and even artichoke dip. The cool, smooth harmonies of the Hollies make a great backdrop.
Occasion: On the other side of northern Italy, some recent vintages of nebbiolo have proven surprisingly precocious. The 2008 Attilo Ghisolfi Bussia Bricco Visette Barolo is ready, willing and able to please anyone who thinks these wines should sit for a couple of decades (or anyone, period). Hearty as hell, with penetrating dark fruit flavors and absolutely perfect tannins, this beauty takes us along for an ultra-elegant, multi-minute ride on the finish. A vegetable terrine (especially if mushrooms are involved) or some spring lamb make for ideal accompaniment. As does the soulful music of a man who peaked early but aged well, Mr. J.J. Cale.