Everyday: Here’s the perfect wine for anyone who claims that pinot grigio/gris is insipid or less than a noble grape. The 2014 Raptor Ridge Oregon Pinot Gris ($20) is exuberant and packed with fruity mineral goodness. The flavors come in waves: stony apricot, tropical guava, citrusy Key lime and more. It’s beautifully round on the midpalate and refreshingly focused on the finish. Just a stellar effort, this white delight is hearty enough to play well with salmon, and the acidity makes it a stellar match for any other fruits of the sea (or the chicken coop). The fresh, juicy warbling of Americana thrush Allison Moorer on her latest work provide even better accompaniment.
Occasion: Few things are more fun in the wide, wild world of wine than finding a cool new (to me) brand. The 2011 Colene Clemens Adriane Chehalem Mountain Pinot Noir ($38) was a recent revelation (thanks, Mike!), from its forest-floor aromas and cherry/berry flavors to the rustic/elegant textural interplay and surprising, surpassing finish. Yum. Bring on some pheasant or duck prepared any ol’ way, and you’ll have a perfect pairing. Ditto the earthy, pungent music of the sui generis NoLa maestro Henry Roeland “Roy” Byrd, a k a Professor Longhair.