A few thoughts for next week:
• For whites, consider Alsace. These wines -- mostly pinot gris, riesling and gewürztraminer -- are versatile, pairing with fish and chicken as well as lighter meat like pork. They aren't the value they were a year or 18 months ago, thanks to the weak dollar, but they're still fairly priced. Try Willm Gewürztraminer Reserve 2006 ($18), which is a touch sweet with apricot fruitiness on the front and had Alsace minerality in the back.
• Spanish reds. Regular visitors to this space know how much the Wine Curmudgeon likes Rioja, where you can still buy top-level wine for $30 or less. Look for Montecillo reservas ($15) or gran reservas ($25-$30), made by one of the true originals in the wine business, Maria Martinez Sierra. The classic pairing is game, but it also works with beef and cheese.
• Sparkling. Lindauer Brut NV ($11) is New Zealand's best-selling bubbly, which is just another example of the country's wine acumen. It’s softer than a French champagne, though still not sweet. Why this wine isn't more easily available baffles me.