Everyday: An oft-repeated refrain in the wine world is that with gruner veltliner, you get what you pay for, that the quality rises accordingly, if not exponentially, with the price tag. So I guess that makes the Kurt Angerer “Kies” Gruner Veltliner ($17) the exception that proves the rule, as this expressive, full-flavored white drinks way above its tariff. It’s fresh and ripe and spicy, with layers of fruit but plenty of kick from the mineral that marks the great gruners. It’s easy to see why sommeliers have loved this varietal forever, since this balanced beauty from Austria would play well with most any seafood or fowl or pork dish, not to mention just about any salad extant.
Occasion: Piedmont is another place where spending a lot of moolah should and generally does bring ample reward. Not that you have to, with the likes of the Vigin “My Ruby” Barbera D’Alba ($24) has vibrant red-berry fruit and great texture and length. The tannins are much softer than what one usually finds in the spendier reds of the region, those bracing Barbarescos and Barolos, making “My Ruby” very approachable in her youth. And again with the minerality and the table-top versatility, although this wine fairly shouts for roast chicken or pheasant.