Everyday: Portugal’s red blends get better and better, but often are priced right at the good-value precipice. Not so the 2010 Udaca Dao Colheita, which checks in at a wallet-friendly $13. There’s a whole lotta bing cherry (with a touch of sweetness) going on, and the midpalate and finish are surprisingly smooth, nigh onto elegant for a wine that has its share of earthiness. The vintners have taken the middle ground in Portugal’s ongoing traditional-vs.-modern battle. It’s a perfect autumn wine, both for sipping and pairing with the foods of the season: truffled french fries, chicken cacciatore with fresh mushrooms, celery root puree. The hearty, ever-smooth tenor-sax work of Mr. Lester Young will cap off the experience.
Occasion: The weather might be cooling, but for some of us, an energetic white is just the ticket. The 2013 DonnaFugata “Lighea” Terre Siciliane Zibibbo($23, often less) has big, bold flavors and mouthwatering zestiness thanks to just the right dollops of acidity and minerality. This Sicilian white throws an off-dry note at you on the midpalate but finishes more citrusy and juicy. It’s the rare white that will play well with salmon, but lighter seafood and poultry dishes also make for swell accompaniment. As do the crystalline, lively vocals of the late, underrated Kirsty MacColl.