Grapes for Any Plate


To my palate, the most flexible wines to enjoy with lunch, dinner or breakfast (I mean brunch!) are those that taste balanced with lively acidic flavors. That’s why when ordering for a group in a restaurant, where everyone is eating something different, my all-purpose wine solution is crisp and tart with citric or sharp berry flavors. Two of these three recommendations fit that bill. The third is a mild “backdrop wine” that absorbs stronger food flavors the way that rice blends in behind assertive sauces.

Domaine Fournier, Sauvignon Blanc, Loire Valley, 2013

This well-priced country wine, produced by a renowned Sancerre estate, features a green herb, grapefruit-like aroma and piercing flavors. Finishing with a bite of stony minerality, it’s magic with most any seafood preparation—raw or cooked—as well as green salads and any dish with goat cheese.

$12, Bauer Wine & Spirits, Boston

Castello di Neive “Cortini” Pinot Nero, Langhe, 2012

You usually have to spend a lot for pinot noir; provided you’re not looking for a fruit bomb, this one is a steal. Loaded with the scent of fresh cherries, mushrooms and earth, it’s vibrant and mineral, with a dried fruit note and very moderate tannins. Quite versatile at the table, it’s ideal with fish stews, salmon, pasta and tomato- or pesto-accented chicken dishes. Enjoy it a bit cooler (60 degrees, not 70).

$21, Vintages, Belmont

Lucien Albrecht Cuvee Balthazar Pinot Blanc, Alsace, 2012

It’s a mystery why this grape variety isn’t more popular. What I love about pinot blanc: It’s silky, soft and gentle, with a subtle spiciness that rarely clashes with food. This one has intriguing floral scents, a creamy texture and some understated pear-like fruit in the finish. It can serve as a mellow, refreshing aperitif or a low-key complement to a range of zesty and flavorful fish as well as vegetarian or white meat dishes.

$13, D&L Liquors, Waltham

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