Top 10 wines for any occasion

WASHINGTON — While no one should need an excuse to drink wine, there certainly seem to be plenty of reasons to do so. One such example is National Wine Day, which falls on May 25.

What sets this day of wine devotion apart from many of the others is the freedom to drink whatever wine pleases your palate. Wine does not have to be expensive, it does not have to be in vogue. It just has to be something you want to kick back and enjoy.

In the spirit of the theme, my editor asked me to share a few of my favorite everyday-drinking wines that I would consider opening tonight. Here are my picks, varietal by varietal.


Scott’s Pick: Non-Vintage Juvé & Camps Brut Rose Cava, Penedès, Spain

After recently returning from Spain, I am on a cava kick, including a delicious rose cava from a family-owned winery located in San Sadurní D’Anoia, a small town in the northeastern Penedès region near Barcelona. Founded in 1921 by Joan Juvé Baqués and his wife Teresa Camps Farré, the winery’s three-generation history has resulted in an international reputation for producing top-quality cava, like the Non-Vintage Juvé & Camps Brut Rose Cava. It’s made from pinot noir grapes and offers scents of raspberry, violet and toasted bread. Flavors of strawberry and cherry fruit feel creamy in the mouth but are beautifully balanced by crisp acidity. The bright little bubbles provide a palate-cleansing finish that goes nicely with the rich texture of avocado found in California rolls. $18 (AP Photo)


Scott’s Pick: 2016 E. Guigal Cotes du Rhone Rose, Rhone Valley, France

I really like rose wines. They come in all different shades of pink and are produced around the world using all sorts of grape varieties. The one that currently has my attention is made by one of the most prominent wine producers in France, the Guigal family. Their 2016 is a blend of Grenache, cinsault and syrah. This pink beauty features a very fragrant bouquet of red cherry and violets. The charming flavors of red raspberry, strawberry and citrusy lemon pile on the front of the palate, while notes of persimmon make a lasting impression on the crisp finish. $15 (AP Photo)


Scott’s Pick: 2011 Trimbach Riesling Reserve, Alsace, France

Repeat after me: Riesling is not sweet. Got it? Great! Many wine consumers are hesitant to open a bottle of riesling because they either had a bad experience or remember the overly sweet wines of their youth. But trust me, most rieslings are fairly dry and are very versatile. When I think riesling, I think trimbach. Their current riesling reserve features notes of petrol and citrus on the nose that leads to a firmly-structured wine that shows off flavors of citrus, peach and nectarine on a minerally frame. Not bad for a wine that has been made for over 375 years. $25 (AP Photo)

Pinot Grigio

Scott’s Pick: 2016 vintage of Luna Nuda Pinot Grigio, Alto Adige, Italy

Produced by the fourth generation Giovanett family in Alto Adige, and named for the mystery and influence of the full moon on growing, harvesting and winemaking traditions, the 2016 vintage of Luna Nuda Pinot Grigio is the embodiment of everything a summer white should be: bright, crisp and fresh. The wine is a reflection of the mountainous region it comes from with its minerality and pure fruit character. It has a bouquet that is fresh and complex, displaying a nose of sage and nectarine and a touch of minerality typical of the varietal. Flavors of meadow flowers, pears and golden apple are lively and elegant as they dance on the medium bodied frame. A hint of lemon zest and minerality lingers on the crisp, acidity-laden finish. $13 (Getty Images)

Sauvignon Blanc

Scott’s Pick: 2015 Matakana Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand

New Zealand has definitely become well-known for producing value-driven quality sauvignon blanc wines. The grapes for the matakana is grown in cooler climates and therefore has a lot of acidity to brighten the wine. It displays scents of gooseberry and grassy notes on the nose. Ripe flavors of passion fruit and pear exhibit good intensity upfront and throughout the crisp finish. $12 (Getty Images)


Scott’s Pick: 2015 Bichot Chablis Domaine Long-Depaquit, Burgundy, France

If you’re going to celebrate National Wine Day with a chardonnay, you might as well enjoy one from the proverbial birthplace of the grape itself: the Burgundy of France. It has a lovely floral bouquet with scents of apple, nectarine and wet stone on the nose. Full of crisp green apples and citrus flavors, the wine feels bracing and balanced in the mouth, thanks to the perfect acidity. Hint of toasted oak and roasted almonds round out the delicious finish. $20 (AP Photo)

Pinot Noir

Scott’s Pick: 2014 De Lancellotti Vineyard La Sorella Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon

Lately, I have going through a Willamette Valley pinot noir phase. Oregon just seems to be on a roll producing incredibly high quality wines. This is a silky, softer-style pinot noir with beautiful scents of rose petals, red plum and black raspberry on the impressive nose. Pretty flavors of red cherry, ripe strawberry, cedar and cocoa blend seamlessly over the entire palate while slight hints of tobacco sneaking in on the delicate finish. I would recommend pairing this with seared tuna. $30 (AP Photo)

Cabernet Sauvignon

Scott’s Pick: 2013 Cousiño-Macul Antiguas Reservas Cabernet Sauvignon, Maipo Valley, Chile

You won’t believe how good this wine is for the money until you try it. The former Ambassador from Chile, Mariano Fernandez, made a believer out of me after serving this wine during a dinner at the embassy several years ago. This wine is full of dark fruit. It exudes aromas of black plum, cherry, cassis and Asian spices on the fragrant nose. Well-structured and bone dry, this cabernet provides solid flavors of blackberries, plums and violets with hints of vanilla and toasty oak on the soft finish. Even more incredible, this wine is age-worthy and can sit comfortably in a cellar for several years. $12 (Thinkstock)


Scott’s Pick: 2015 Dry Creek Vineyard Heritage Zinfandel Sonoma County, California

This zin is an example of happens when quality and value sync up. The wine offers up spicy notes of blueberry, red cherry and kirschwasser flavors. The symmetry between the fruit, peppery highlights, and dusty tannins produces a well-balanced, full-bodied Zinfandel that would stand up to smoked ribs or enjoyable on its own. $18 (AP Photo)


Scott’s Pick: 2015 Alfredo Roca Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina

Sometimes I am in the mood for a steak and a heady, fruit-driven wine to keep it company. The Alfredo Roca Malbec is just such a wine. The bouquet offers up scents of blackberry and dried herbs while the palate features flavors of black plum, dark cherry and cocoa. The soft tannins provide a lush finish where hints of toasty oak weigh in. $14 (Thinkstock)


Like WTOP on Facebook and follow @WTOP on Twitter to engage in conversation about this article and others.

© 2017 WTOP. All Rights Reserved.

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up