Everyday: Like most folks, my first malbec (a Trapiche in 1998) came not from its homeland of France but from Argentina. Here’s hoping that, like me, many a malbec fan discovers the delights of Cahors renditions. The 2009 Chateau De Hauterive Chemin de Compostelle Cahors ($17) offers up a bright, shiny nose; tasty, slightly pruney fruit, serious structure and an enticing persistence. While many (but not all) Argentinian versions are suitable for quaffing, this is a wine to savor. Try it with hearty stews and soups, a hunk of Parmigiano-Reggiano or some dark chocolate.
Occasion: Sad news arrived this week: a bankruptcy filing for the iconic Alsatian winery Lucien Albrecht. But the wines are still out there, and one that’s particularly worth seeking out is the Lucien Albrecht Cremant d’Alsace Brut Rose ($23). This is a smooth, sexy sparkler with some nice bite amidst the lush strawberry and raspberry flavors. Slightly sweet and salty, this pink beauty boasts a finish that lasts for days. And like most wine with bubbles, it is extraordinarily versatile at the table, and particularly suited for challenging foods such as artichokes and asparagus. Or just have it with popcorn or other salty snacks.