Everyday: As malbecs go, the Dominio del Plata Crios de Susana Balbo Mendoza ($15) is particularly “thick,” dark and brooding, big on the oak and the fruit and the tannins. That hefty balance results in plenty of structure, making this a decent option for aging, or for buying a half-case and trying one every 6 to 8 months to see how this bold beauty evolves. The chunky density cries out for a grilled slab o’ beef, but the touch of tropical spice, rare in a red, means this would pair well with barbecued ribs or chicken.
Occasion: It’s rare to call a sauvignon blanc “hearty,” but the Domaine Jean Teiller Menetou-Salon Blanc ($24) fills the bill. A crisp, refreshing nose lingers as pure minerality coats the mid-palate. Citrus flavors give way to peach, and the seriously long finish is rich and robust. A fascinating wine. Enjoy it on the patio by itself, or with some grilled chicken and zucchini, salad or pasta containing bits of goat cheese or as part of a Friday night fish fry or boil.