Everyday: It’s rare to see the words “fresh” and Rioja” in the same sentence, but the 2012 Bodegas Palacios Remondo La Vendimia Rioja ($14) warrants such an unusual pairing. A 50-50 blend of garnacha and tempranillo, this ripe red has the region’s trademark earth and coffee elements and a long, lush finish. The organic old vines provide supple tannins and a nice roundness to the fruit. Bring out some spicy sausages, or pizza, or Mexican dishes, or paella for this food-friendly offering.
Occasion: This blog really does strive to avoid hyperbole, but here ya go: Year in and year out, the Brick House Willamette Valley Evelyn’s Pinot Noir ($62) is as deep and soulful as any domestic pinot I’ve encountered. It’s also delicious, but provokes such sublime sensations that that’s almost secondary. The soon-to-be-released 2011, sampled with winemaker Doug Tunnell this summer, has hearty fruit with leathery/dusty elements and tons of stuffing for aging. But with this wine, any ol’ vintage will do. Especially with roasted fowl or fall vegetables.