Everyday: The first time I tried the Birichino Monterey Malvasia Blanca ($18) last fall, I was so enamored with the label that I was worried that it colored my very positive perception of what was inside the bottle. A second sampling more recently eased my concern. This is really good juice. The acidity teeters on dominating the proceedings at the outset, but then the citrus and stone fruit come to the fore. The midpalate is sensual, the finish vibrant and integrated. So it turns out that the label is an apropos harbinger of what’s behind it, an enticing, gorgeous wine. Try this with ceviche or sushi, and the acidity makes it a proper pairing for fish or fowl with tangy or rich sauces.
Occasion: Anyone who is buying Napa cabs by the case needs to be mixing in some Washington juice. The Dunham Cellars Columbia Valley XIV Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 ($45) holds up well against any cab from halfway down the coast in that price range. The dark red and black fruit, cocoa and dried-herb flavors, the just-firm-enough tannins, the lush and lovely mouthfeel and finish: We’re talking classic cab here, for a juicy steak or a fat cigar (do people do that anymore?), a fireplace or a fire pit. Other at-the-table matchups: beef bourguignon (in or with the dish), hearty soups and a hunk of Parmigiano-Reggiano.