Everyday: Holy crap, is 2014 ever a fantabulous vintage in Oregon. Exhibit A: the 2014 Erath Oregon Pinot Noir ($19), from a justly beloved winery. Especially given its price, this pinot has surpassing elegance and beauty, not to mention deliciousness (OK, I just mentioned it). Lovely red fruit, picked at optimum ripeness, and superb structure are hallmarks of this beauty. And what a lovely, deep finish, pure and persistent. It seems that one of Oregon’s first wineries – Dick Erath made his first batch in 1965 – is still one its best. Like all good pinots, this baby calls for roasted veggies or fowl, especially a recipe from the incomparable Ina Garten’s latest book, skillet roasted lemon chicken. Add the precise beauty of Debussy’s “Clair de Lune,” and the perfect pairings are complete.
Occasion: After the holidays, many of us find ourselves a wee bit strapped for cash. Good thing there are $21 wines suitable for special occasions, like the 2012 Coppo Barbera d’Asti Camp du Rouss. Starting with a complex nose, this Piedmontese red follows up with a superbly balanced amalgam of fruit, acid and dusty tannins. It’s bright and lively at the outset, multilayered and persistent on the finish. Darker fruit and Caribbean spices dominate the flavors, which linger nigh onto forever on the finish. A great way to celebrate the winery’s 125th anniversary. Along with the rustic but refined Italian classic, Pasta Alla Gricia, and the down-home goodness of the Billy Bragg-Wilco collaborations.