Everyday: They say that the Bodegas Breton Lorinon Blanco Rioja ($14) was stored in barriques, but they must have been old because there’s no detectable toast or vanilla on this beauty. It’s vibrant and clean, with perfect ripeness and smoothness. There’s just enough acidity to make this Spanish white made from the viura grape lovely balance and food-friendly focus. It’s also none-too-shabby a sipper or cooking wine (to be consumed while preapring dinner). Some lightly sautéed, poached or baked fish would sing with this refreshing juice, and sushi or a pizza margherita are ideal matches as well.
Occasion: Far be it from me to tout a $60 zinfandel. Blessedly, there’s a loophole with the Ravenswood Old Hill Vineyard Zinfandel 2008 ($60): it’s from an ancient vineyard with a myriad of grapes, making the wine taste more like a blend than a classic zinfandel. Barely meeting the varietal criterion at 75-percent zin, this is a robust, rich, earthy but elegant delight. Layers of complexity unfold en route to a finish that lasts for minutes. Probably the best Ravenswood wine I’ve ever tasted, this hearty red is drinking beautifully now but should be fine for cellaring at last 5 years. It would work at a fancy steak or lamb-chop dinner but was delicious last night with burgers laced with barbecue sauce.