What makes a wine taste delicious with food? Balance. For a broad range of dishes, light- to medium-bodied wines that are tart, minerally, herbal and subtly flavored work best. Grape varieties that share these characteristics tend to accent food without overpowering it, while others with more flamboyant personalities can dominate the equation. These three may not hit a home run with every preparation, but they’re surefire winners with an impressive batting average—and are likely to make the chef smile.
Huber Obere Steigen
Grüner Veltliner, Traisental, 2016
There’s as much versatility in vegetarian and vegan diets as there is in the carnivore world, though diners often ask for recommendations as though a perfect one-size-fits-all match exists. However, grüner veltliner works wonders with raw or cooked green vegetables. This bottle has an undercurrent of white pepper, green herbs, lemon and snap peas that will hold its own against salads of all kinds.
$19, Coolidge Corner Wine & Spirits
Michael David Inkblot
Cabernet Franc, Lodi, 2014
Is there a better-kept secret than how good cab franc is with virtually everything? This is a gorgeous wine, oozing raspberry, cocoa, mint and clove aromas. Silky and lush on the palate, with a serious tannin statement, it’s most at home with a swordfish dressed in a tapenade, or lamb and rosemary, but it would also complement a chewy grain dish with roasted root vegetables and grilled mushrooms.
$36, Brookline Fine Wine & Spirits
Txomin Etxaniz, Getariako
This tongue twister is produced in the Basque country of Spain within hailing distance of the stormy, windy Bay of
Biscay by a family with roots in the region that date to the 17th century. Picture a plate of raw shellfish: This is what you want. Faintly effervescent, this low alcohol charmer with green apple, chalky, saline notes would also fit right in with a wide range of plant-based dishes, or anything slightly salty.
$21, Whole Foods Market, South End
Sandy Block is a master of wine and the vice president of beverage operations for Legal Sea Foods.