Everyday: No matter how it’s spelled, the Hungarian dessert wine Tokay/Tokaji/etc. is justifiably renowned. The grape from which it is made blessedly has only one spelling ““ furmint ““ but is unjustifiably fairly obscure as a table wine. Bottles such as the EvolÃºciÃ³ Furmint ($12) should change all that. Aromatic as all get-out ““ our group last week wondered if it was a semillon, sauv blanc or riesling ““ this is a vibrant, flavor-packed fruit cocktail of a wine, with a refreshing kick towards the voluptuous but vibrant finish. Try it with all manner of salads (particularly if goat cheese is involved) and roasted or grilled fish or fowl. Great patio wine, too.
Occasion: Hungary’s neighbor and erstwhile empire partner Austria is best known for another white grape, gruner veltliner (although its dry rieslings cn be spectacular). The Nigl Gruner Veltliner Alte Reben ($34) is a perennial standout that just gets better with age; the 2007s are rockin’ right now. Alternately creamy and minerally, with lovely ripe citrus and fig/date flavors, this rich and racy white provides ample evidence of why sommeliers have embraced the varietal for the last decade-plus. It should play beautifully with any dish featuring a creamy sauce, especially pasta and pork.