Everyday: This is not your father’s entry-level chenin blanc: The 2010 Louis Laurent Vouvray ($11) is much cleaner and softer than the chenins of yore, with firm fruit (citrus and peach), light-on-its-feet texture and a crisp, lively finish. For a semi-mass-produced wine (20,000 cases), it’s quite distinctive “” and food-friendly, pairing deftly with most any preparation of white meat, sundry salads and of course goat cheese. A guy could do a lot worse than to offer it up at the Thanksgiving table, too.
Occasion: In one of those only-in-the-wine-world deals, the Walt winery is named after a woman. Katherine Walt Hall is also the proprietor of Napa mainstay Hall Wines, but her family has been growing grapes in Mendocino since 1973. So they knew what they were doing when they put together the 2011 Walt Anderson Valley “Blue Jay” Pinot Noir ($38) from several sites (Savoy, Annahalla and Anderson Creek). Delicious fruit and a hearty mouthfeel and finish are hallmarks of this slightly smoky (bacon fat?), lush red. Besides the obligatory roast chicken, other oven-prepped meats and fall veggies (root, gourds) will play well with this beauty.