Everyday: The improvement in South African wines rivals that of any region’s. Exhibit A: the 2012 Landskroon Paul de Villiers Paarl Cabernet Sauvignon ($17), a full-ish-bodied, harmonious gem. The nose has gorgeous red fruit, portending the cherry and dark berry flavors, with touches of black pepper and there spices. The grip is perfection, part of the seamless balance that continues through a more than ample finish. Break out the grill or roasting pan for this one, with most any meat or vegetable prepared that way likely to work. The hearty harmonies of the Drifters will make the occasion even better.
Occasion: Sauternes get most of the attention among dessert-wine aficionados, but the nearby region of Barsac is pretty stout in that department as well. I’ve had several vintages of the Denis Dubourdieu Chateau Doisy-Daene Barsac ($59). Few wines of any sort have the precision of this nectar, with fab stone-fruit flavors, spot-on acidity and great purity. Yum. Since this is sweeter than most desserts, it’s likely to pair splendidly with the last course — and if that means cheese instead, sip it with a good blue. Throw in the stupendously sweet vocals of Jane Siberry, and you’re talking pure bliss.