Everyday: It becomes easier to understand why Hungary’s Tokaji Aszu dessert wines are so swell when one tastes still wines made from the same grape. The 2012 Affinitas Furmint ’12 ($16) is just such a wine, with fabulous floral aromas and a lean, lovely start than softens with a touch of sweetness (it’s 15-percent muscat) through the thoroughly satisfying finish. The name “furmint,” btw, is taken from the word “front” due to the wheat-gold color of the wine. With its dry-sweet notes and seamless texture, this is a wonderful pairing wine. It rocked with paella last week and would play well with most any other dish featuring shrimp, as well as medium-spiced Asian dishes. The sultry, silky, soulful singing and deft fiddle work of Amanda Shires provide the perfect soundtrack.
Occasion: I loves me some Washington merlot, which often is “bigger” and better than its cabernet sauvignon counterparts at the same winery. Most Evergreen State wineries blessedly nail them both, among them Woodward Canyon, whose 2010 Columbia Valley Merlot ($40) does that rare dance between intensity and elegance. The nose is berry- and plum-laden, and on the palate the perfectly ripe fruit and firm tannins do another dandy do-si-do. The finish is silk incarnate and nigh onto endless. It’s a fabulous fall food wine, meshing with grilled or roasted meat and root veggies. More apropos accompaniment comes from the ever-brooding (but here not as dark as usual) Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds.