Everyday: California is just getting the knack of making white blends, but the French, or at least some of them, have long since mastered it. That’s certainly the case in Gascony: The Domaine du Pellehaut Harmonie de Gascone Blanc 2010 is a stony cold pleasure and a screamin’ bargain at $14. The layers of fruit (pear, golden apple) and texture (lean, then lush, then lean again at the end) are undergirded by spot-on minerality. I’m not smart enoough to discern exactly what each grape ““ ugni blanc, colombard, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc and gros manseng ““ brings to the table, but these guys have nailed the right formula. Try it with soft cheeses, salads with fruit or fried chicken for yumerrific effect.
Occasion: Opus One, Schmopus on. The most promising Franco-American alliance in Napa these days is Hyde de Villaine, with DRC’s Aubert de Villaine joining forces with Carneros superstar grower Larry Hyde and hiring the gifted winemaker Stéphane Vivier. The 2007 HdV Belle Cousine ($60) is the best vintage yet of this Right Bank blend, firm and focused and polished. The classic cedar aromas, plummy/cherry/blackberry flavors and long finish make for a seriously swell package. Lamb and beef are obvious pairings, but I’d happily match it up with roasted fowl or most anything with mushrooms.