Everyday: Portuguese whites are starting to show that they’re a lot more than vinho verde. The 2012 Herdade do Esporao “Monte Velho” Branco ($10) is priced like a vinho verde but brings a good bit more complexity and oomph to the table. Lime flavors and racy minerality bounce off each other beautifully from start to refreshing finish in this vibrant blend of antão vaz, roupeiro and per rum. Shrimp prepared most any way and smoky chicken quesadillas are among the swell pairings.
Occasion: A plugged-in wholesaler confirmed to me this week that Australia really is regaining some momentum in the retail market. Rather than shiraz, it’s likely that grenache and red blend like the seriously tasty D’Arenberg “Galvo Garage” ($24) will be the reason why. I’ve had 2003, 2008 and 2009 renditions that all rocked. Smooth and silky on the palate after an arresting spicy, smoky nose, this dark beauty shows nice notes of black olive, black pepper and dark red fruit. Beef, from burgers to tenderloin, and lamb braised or roasted make for dandy accompaniments.