Everyday: Paul Dolan has long been recognized as a leading light in the sustainable/organic realm. He also makes some damn fine wine. The Paul Dolan Potter Valley Mendocino Sauvignon Blanc ($18) is a flat-out delicious amalgam of key lime, kiwi and much more, with a lovely lean edge leavening the fruit all the way through a seriously refreshing finish. It’s fun to smell and fun to drink, but with nice complexity. There’s enough tropical fruit here to play off medium-spicy Indian or Thai food, and an herb-infused roast pork would provide swell accompaniment as well.
Occasion: I have heard for years about how great Austrian rieslings could be, but never experienced it. Until last night, when I had the great good fortune to be treated to the Familie Saahs Nikolaihof Steiner Hund Reserve Riesling ($70). “Holy Red Foley” was all I could say. Power and purity, liveliness and lift, plus structure out the yin yang. I can almost still taste the extraordinary finish. You can have your California cult cabs; I’ll take this dynamic white. I’m sure there are any number of dishes with which it would shine, as the best rieslings do. But the next time I’m fortunate enough to have one, I’m going the savor-by-itself route.