Everyday: I love floral wines, but sometimes that element can be too much of a good thing, especially with torrontés. The Piattelli Cafayate Premium Torrontés ($15) tames this by aging 20 percent of the juice in new French oak. The result is a subdued but still striking nose and fruit that somehow is both rich and clean, all the way through the refreshing finish. The crisp acidity leaves a nice tingle on the tongue and makes this a seriously versatile pairing option. A fresh ceviche and fried fish or shrimp are obvious options, but this exhilarating white also can play with most spicy dishes, from barbecued chicken to pad thai and curries.
Occasion: When I started writing about wine, I dropped out of several wineries’ clubs because I couldn’t keep up with the regular shipments and the samples I suddenly was receiving. That changed last December at Paso Robles’ Denner Vineyards, where every wine was truly sublime. The Denner “Theresa” ($35) has none of the oiliness of most Rhone white blends, and its myriad flavors (melon, citrus, tropical fruit) have amazing focus. The rare white that’s powerful but elegant, it lingers languidly on the palate. Try it with soft cheeses, game birds, halibut or swordfish. Best I can tell, it is available only at the winery.