Everyday: Red blends remain all the rage, but for those of us who don’t care for gobs of residual sugar, wines like the 2013 Qupé Central Coast “a modern red” ($16) fill the bill. A blend of syrah, grenache and mourvèdre sourced from vineyards in Paso Robles, Edna Valley, Santa Maria Valley and Santa Ynez, this is a lusty but rustic red with just-right grip and acidity. The finish is full-bodied and -flavored, as the chunky dark red fruit shines through even more. Meaty pizzas, burgers, sausages and grilled veggies would work with this, and for some reason I really wanna try a couple of corn dogs with it. The smooth but funky masterworks of Mr. Ry Cooder augment the occasion.
Occasion: Sometimes, a guy stumbles across a wine that just has it all: flavor, texture, complexity, life its own self. And in this case, bubbles! The nonvintage Veuve Fourny & Fils Grande Reserve Champagne ($48) outshines most sparkling wines twice (or thrice) the price. Yeasty, citrusy nose? Check. Zingy but substantial mouthfeel? Check. Endless sensuousness on the finish? Double check. And at that price, it would make one helluva birthday, holiday or anniversary party infinitely better. Salty appetizers and cheeses are but one of many splendid potential pairings, along with chocolate, shrimp and strawberries (in or out of the glass). The sultry, sexy vocals of Rickie Lee Jones are just as swell an accompaniment.