Everyday: Let’s face it, Chile does a much better job of producing cabs that drink above their price point. In the case of the 2010 ViÃ±a Bisquertt Colchaqua Valley “La Joya” Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon ($11), make that way above the price point. Dark fruit and sweet spices pervade the nose and palate, with some wonderful big ol’ tannins producing a swell mouthfeel. Some herbal notes kick in just before the almost luxurious finish. This hearty offering is a nice option for a season in which we start to roast or braise our meats but still want to occasionally throw a slab on the grill.
Occasion: I’ve tasted very few pinot noirs from Austria, none of them memorable. But Hans Wimmer sure knows how to use the grape in sparkling fashion. The Wimmer Czerny Blanc de Noirs Brut 2008 ($45) is flat-out gorgeous, and its beauty morphs throughout an evening. This is a soft, creamy and peachy on the midpalate and turns refreshingly crisp on the finish with pear elements. Like the best blanc de noirs from Champagne, this might be the most versatile pairing wine extant: popcorn, strawberries, sushi, fried chicken, you name it and it will play well with this sexy sparkler.