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