Everyday: My favorite development in the wine world is the way dandy Italian whites have become more affordable. The 2011 Azienda Agraria Perticaia Trebbiano Spoletino Umbria ($14) is the kind of wine that would have cost $22 a few years ago — and would have been worth it, but barely. It’s vibrant on both the nose and palate, with fresh green fruit (kiwi, Key lime) flavors and invigorating jolts of acidity and minerality, plus uncommon length. This brisk beauty will cozy right up to fruit- and seafood-laden salads or chicken quesadillas. The pure and pristine vocals of First Aid Kit provide the perfect soundtrack, starting with a stunningly beautiful cover of “America” that left Paul Simon in tears.
Occasion: Talk about over-delivering: At $30, the 2008 Finca Sandoval Manchuela Castilla la Mancha is a frickin’ steal. This syrah is large and in charge but downright gorgeous, with chunky dark red fruit and spot-on tannins. The firm but elegant texture continues through a minute-long finish. Sausages, or paella with the same, or a slab o’ beef that has been grilled fast or braised slow are optimal pairings. This bold beauty also provides a great excuse to dust off the soundtrack to the Cuban classic “Buena Vista Social Club.”