Weeknight: Grenache blanc is on the rise, and it can’t happen quickly enough for me. The 2011 Michel Gassier Cercius Blanc ($14) has lovely floral and fruit aromas, lush citrus and tropical fruit flavors undergirded by bony minerality and a vibrant finish that leaves you wanting more. And at 13-percent alcohol, you can have more of this white blend (70 percent grenache blanc, 30 percent sauvignon blanc) from the impeccable importer Eric Solomon. Try this Rhone beauty with hearty fish or fowl dishes with a Mediterranean or Mexican bent.
Occasion: Another grape that should be much more widely grown and readily available is sagrantino di Montefalco. One sip of the 2005 Arnaldo Caprai “Collepiano” Sagrantino di Montefalco ($45), and you’ll see why. My tasting notes included a first for me “” the exclamation “Pow!” “” thanks to a massive but harmonious assault of dark red fruit and stout tannins. The nose is also large and in charge, but the midpalate is dry and borderline refined leading to a gloriously elegant finish. Bring out the slabs for this big boy from Umbria, but it also will play well with hard cheeses and dark chocolate.