The Hugel family—which has been producing white wine since the 1600s—buys grapes from dozens of vineyard sites around its hometown of Riquewihr, in France's Alsace region, for this bracing, lime-scented, dry Riesling.
Pairing: 2007 Domaine des Aubuisières Cuvée de Silex Vouvray ($17)
From his limestone cellars in France's Loire Valley, Bernard Fouquet makes many good wines, including this barely off-dry cuvée—full-bodied, silky and earthy, with notes of pear, orange, hay and stone.
Pairing: 2005 Castello di Monsanto Chianti Classico Riserva ($25)
The flavor of this red suggests the juicy pop of wild berries, with smoky oak and firm tannins supporting the ripe fruit. Monsanto, one of the most recognizable names in Italy's Chianti Classico region, was one of the first producers there to fight against the requirement that white grapes be included in the Chianti blend—a battle that it won, much to the benefit of wine drinkers everywhere.
Pairing: 2004 Tinto Pesquera Crianza Ribera Del Duero ($31)
This bottling, one of the benchmark wines of this region, is rich and has dense, earthy flavor. Some of Spain's most exciting wines these days are being made in the Ribera del Duero region from Tempranillo (known locally as Tinto del Pais); the 2004 vintage is particularly outstanding.
Pairing: 2004 Beringer Private Reserve Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($115)
Beringer's top Cabernet bottling is luscious and full of concentrated flavor. The 2004 vintage was challenging in parts of California, but in Napa it produced some terrific Cabernets, with big flavors but strong tannins that will need time to soften.
The fruit from a small plot of 60-year-old Syrah vines forms the basis of this intense, lightly gamey red, its juicy dark-berry fruit supported by firm, gravelly tannins. The domaine itself lies amidst craggy hills on the edge of France's Rhône Valley, southwest of Tavel and Lirac.
Pairing: 2005 André Brunel Les Cailloux Châteauneuf-du-Pape
André Brunel is legendary in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, and his 2005 Les Cailloux is a deep, elegant and intense red. In 2005, temperatures in Châteauneuf-du-Pape were colder than in the previous two years, resulting in superb, beautifully structured wines that will require years to fully develop.