Everyday: Possibly the most encouraging trend in the wine world of late has been the variety of styles chardonnay makers are embracing, not long after a bland, unctuous sameness prompted the ABC (Anything But Chardonnay) movement. The 2012 Snoqualmie Columbia Valley Chardonnay ($11) is gorgeous on the nose and dark in the glass (a lovely gold) for such a light and lively wine, starring stone fruit and lovely little jolts of acidity. This white beauty fairly dances across the palate and gets seriously clean on the finish. A salad with lightly grilled tuna, some corn chowder or shrimp bisque and roasted acorn or butternut squash are among the great pairing options. The hearty and heartfelt J.J. Cale tribute from Eric Clapton, “The Breeze,” makes this tasty gem even easier to wash down.
Occasion: It’s tempting to sneak the 2010 Macul “Domus Aurea” Upper Maipo Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($65) into a flight of California cabs, so supple and smooth are its charms. But this red is a bit more persistent than many of its Cali counterparts, with the spot-on tannins making their presence felt throughout the long finish, where the plum and currant flavors still shine as well. The cooler weather provides a host of potential accompaniments, including most any duck preparation and some similarly silky braised short ribs. Toss in crystalline vocals of Dinah Washington, and you’re talking a nigh onto perfect autumn evening.