Everyday: Bonarda, a grape known as charbono on these shores and tagged with the unfortunate name douce noir elsewhere, often finds great expression in Argentina. The Tercos Mendoza Bonarda ($13) is all darkness: a smoke-laden nose, lots of lush purple and black fruit, a toasty edge in the midpalate and semi-lengthy finish. Yet it’s more medium- than full-bodied, with nice spice, surprising acid and soft but semi-grippy tannins. Any food worth some char on it, whether through roasting or cooking with fire, is a nice match: root veggies, pot roast, grilled lamb burgers. The wizened, toasty/tasty Leonard Cohen’s new album (or any album by this octogenarian master) provides fitting accompaniment.
Occasion: They say wine is a living, breathing thing. Not sure who “they” are, but there’s enormous vim, verve and, yes, life in the 2012 and ’13 Cadaretta Columbia Valley SBS ($21). The acronym stands for sauvignon blanc (72 percent) and semillon (28 percent), and what a perfect blend of Bordeaux’s white grapes this Washingon standout is, with the honeyed semi-thickness of the latter grape buffering the sharp citrus and stone fruit laden with jolts of acidity of the former. This wine reminds me of the fabulous Italian dish saltimbocca, which translates as “jumps in the mouth.” And that classic, whether made with the traditional veal or fowl rolled with prosciutto, cheese and sage, is a great paring, but so is most any chicken preparation. Some up-with-life joyfests from Martha Reeves & the Vandellas sound just right with this.