Everyday: I’ve always enjoyed albarinos but never had a “yowsa” experience with one. Until last weekend, that is, when the Don Olegario Rias Baixas Albarino 2010 ($18) wowed not only yours truly, but two party guests who whipped out their smartphones to shoot the label. The fruit is gorgeous, the grip and mouthfeel just right, the finish long and clean. A touch of tropical spice makes this minerally beauty all the more alluring. The pairing possibilities are near endless: oysters, crab cakes, egg rolls, creamy pastas and most pork preparations.
Occasion: South African vintners have made significant improvements with their varietal wines (chenin blanc and even the occasional pintoage), but they’ve really got it going on with blends. The Mont Deston Passioné ($35) is plush and packed with dark berry and chocolate flavors, with plenty o’ stuffing and spot-on texture. This hearty red showcases both the syrah and cabernet sauvignon within it, and it’s fun to pick out the sundry elements of each. Anything braised (meat or veggies) or grilled (ditto) should cozy right up to this sumptuous delight.