Everyday: Best I can tell, the McKinley Springs winery is Washington can do no wrong. Its whites are gorgeous, and the 2009 McKinley Springs “Horsepower” Red ($16) is a refined, expressive effort. It’s fun to seek out the elements in this unusual blend: 43 percent syrah, 35 percent barbera, 9 percent petit verdot and 4 percent mourvedre. It’s even more fun to savor the dark-fruit flavors and just-firm-enough tannins, plus the sinewy texture. Pizza, pasta with hearty sauces, Tex-Mex dishes and roasted winter squash should mosey right up to this hearty red.
Occasion: It’s almost disappointing when the first encounter you have with a grape and genre of wine is so spectacular that you feel like it can never be topped. Well, at least my initial sampling of a sparkling wine from Savoie ““ and of the jacquere grape ““ can perhaps be equalled as soon as I find another bottle of the Andre & Michel Quenard Savoie Methode Traditionnelle ($23). This energetic bottle of bubbles boasts fantastic fruit flavors in glorious harmony with some brisk acidity. The finish is nearly endless. At a recent brunch, it paired splendidly with egg dishes, oysters and cured meats at a recent brunch. But like the best sparkling wines, it probably goes well with almost anything.