Everyday: A local importer who scours Italy for the best juice told me a story a few years back about a winery with a fantastic portfolio. But the winery’s name, in large letters on the label, was “Kunt,” and the importer couldn’t talk the winery into changing the label. So I was surprised to see said importer recently bring in the 2012 Sierra Lupini Negro Roero Arneis ($19) with the middle word in largish letters on the label. But the bottom line is, this is one fantastic bottle of wine, maybe my favorite arneis ever (and that’s saying something), with lime and mineral galore but a gorgeous softer texture underlying it and uncommon length. This white was made for scallops or other richer seafood dishes, and I can’t wait to try it with fried chicken. That’s one of many reasons that the ideal soundtrack is Little Feat’s stupendous “Dixie Chicken” album.
Occasion: Too many domestic pinot noirs these days show a heavy hand from the winemaker, so it’s always fun to get a set from the same winery that ostensibly will provide a glimpse at the terrors. The 2010 LaRochelle Santa Lucia Highlands Sleepy Hollow Vineyard Pinot Noir ($48) makes me want to seek out more pinots from that vineyard, as it was quite different from, and a better fit for my palate than, LaRochelle pinots from other vineyards. It shows classic forest-floor elements and brisk acidity, and the red-berry fruit flavors are persistent through the silky but earthy finish. The classic roast-chicken pairing is a swell idea, but it tasted great with some spicy-ish pork chops and roasted root vegetables the other night. Plop on something, well, earthy and silky by the likes of Nina Simone.