Everyday: For a good while now, Spain’s Priorat has vied with Alsace as the wine region I’d most like to visit. Wines like the 2010 Cellar Pasanau Ceps Nous Priorat ($18) are a big reason why. This blend of grenache, mazuelo, syrah, cabernet sauvignon and merlot boasts big-ass fruit but also plenty of acidity and “dirt.” It’s super-hearty from start to finish, with vibrant spiciness, including good syrah’s signature black pepper, and a satiny finish. Decanting for an hour ain’t a bad idea, and don’t worry about finishing the bottle, as it might improve a night or two later. Try it with spicy sausage or jamon, or with meaty stews and soups.
Occasion: Don’t you just love riesling from Barolo? Uh, riesling from Barolo? Believe it, and anyone who doesn’t love G.D. Vajra Langhe Bianco ($35) doesn’t love wine, I say. It’s verve-acious, with tons of lift and energy and stupendously good fruit. The weight changes on the palate, from light to medium to almost heavy (but deft) on the finish. And what a finish, nigh onto endless. Bonus: A local wholesaler told me the Vajra family might be his favorite in the wine biz. Bring out almost any Asian food, or seafood, or of course Asian seafood (preferably farmed sustainably, like these grapes).