Everyday: My nomination for most unfairly ignored varietal is pinot blanc, and few regions let it shine more than Alto Adige in the Italian Alps. Actually, a more specific name of the local mountain chain is on the label of the 2012 Alois Lageder Dolomiti Pinot Bianco ($13). Glorious melon and citrus fruit play with a super-friendly give way to a super-friendly midpalate jolt of wet stone and a near-endless refreshing finish. Try it with shrimp on the barbie or with cocktail sauce or some baked ham with mac and cheese. And bring on a buttload more pinot blanc, and more grapes, period, that grow in the Dolomites.
Occasion: Among California winemakers, Ehren Jordan has few peers. The wines he crafted at Turley last for a decade-plus, and he has been turning out steller stiff from Sonoma since opening the Failla winery. The 2012 Failla Keefer Ranch Russian River Valley Pinot Noir ($47) is stunning, at least for a California pinot: lush but elegant, earthy but refined, with perfectly ripe fruit dancing with just-right acidity. Pastas with richer sauces, grilled or roasted fowl and almost anything with Parmiggiano-Reggiano in or on it will sing with this delicious red.