Everyday: I’ve stumbled across some dandy domestic albariños in recent months (Abrente, Cambiata, Tangent), but Spain still rules the roost with this varietal. Especially when they’re priced like the 2012 Senorio de Cruces Rias Baixas Albariño ($13), a refreshing, bright and juicy rendition. The citrus-dominated fruit turns plumper and plusher on the midpalate and finish, which is mouth-watering enough to make this a dandy dinner wine. Try seared scallops with pretty much any ol’ glaze, or grilled chicken with a lemon-herb marinade or even a barbecue sauce. A great soundtrack for savoring this sprightly, soothing white comes from the late, seriously great Cape Verdean singer known as the “Barefoot Diva,” Cesaria Evora.
Occasion: One benefit of cabernet franc’s never gaining merlot- or pinot-like popularity out west is that it hasn’t been planted inplaces inhospitable to this marvelous grape. A site in Livermore spawns a fantastic rendition, the 2010 Steven Kent Ghielmatti Vineyard Livermore Valley Cabernet Franc ($50), whose mingling of earthy, herby and red fruit is pure perfection. Bonus points for the more-than-sufficient stuffing, depth and length. Burgers or meat loaf, grilled pork chops and roasted root vegetables are among the optimum accompaniments. Ditto the raw but pure singing on songwriting from the first (and still my favorite) album by Lucinda Williams.