Everyday: Sometimes it’s hard to get enough of albariño. The good ones (i.e., most of them) are full of vim and vigor and vivaciousness; they’re tasty, too. The 2012 Bodega as Laxas Rias Baixas Albariño ($16) dances between lush and lean tent poles, all the while delivering refreshing stone-fruit and Meyer lemon flavors and just the right bit of salinity. Sourced from a historic estate overlooking the River Miño, this an intense but balanced wine with swell depth and length. Fruits of the sea in most any form, from grilled salmon to ceviche, will sing with this beauty. And so will the timeless harmonies of the Everly Brothers.
Occasion: It’s easy to find Napa cabernets that cost $70, but few provide great value at that price. Same with merlot. And petite sirah?!? Well, I’m here to tell you that the Stags Leap “Ne Cede Malis” Petite Sirah delivers big-time. This robust red is grape-y in a great way, with fabulous texture and structure and a nigh onto endless, rich finish. The name is Latin for “never concede to malice,” a wonderful sentiment and the motto of the Chase family that founded the winery in 1893. It now ranks with the Turley Hayne Vineyard as my favorite petite sirahs. It’s ideal for autumnal bonfires, outdoors or in, but also is worth trying with charred beef or lamb off the grill, and definitely with duck confit. The sturdy, soulful sounds of Alabama Shakes provide an apt soundtrack.