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Rolf Binder Viognier “Hovah,” Barossa Valley
New World Viognier typically falls into two categories: The Good and The Ugly. This one carves out a whole niche: Call it The Miraculous. It’s densely packed with summertime stone fruits, sure, but also possesses a straight-edged minerality that forces you to pay attention. Simply gorgeous.
D’Arenberg Viognier “The Last Ditch,” Adelaide Hills
This one finds its center of gravity on the richer end of the viognier spectrum than the Rolf Binder. It’s a barrel-fermented, Creamsicle-rich wine that you don’t want to chill down too much. Just pull it from the cellar, screw open the cap, and call it a night. You won’t want to leave the couch once you start sipping.
Helfrich Gewurztraminer Grand Cru, Alsace
The great wines of Alsace often represent some of the best deals at the high-end of the fine-wine world. This minerally, floral, spice-scented steal is just as delicious on its own as it is with food.
Donhoff Riesling Oberhauser Leisten Kabinett, Nahe
From one of the best producers in the sadly overshadowed Nahe (one cannot live on Mosel alone, after all) comes this fabulously affordable Riesling. This one is all about intimation: It hints at sweetness but doesn’t overpower; braces with acidity without growing tart; finds that perfect balance that so many rieslings strive for yet so few ever achieve.
Pascual Toso Torrontes, Mapiu Valley
Malbec might get all the glory in Argentina, but a good Torrontes, like this melon, springtime-in-a-bottle white, stands out by its easy, almost dangerous drinkability. But don’t fret: if you kill a bottle on your own before your guests arrive, you can pick up another one.
Campbell’s of Rutherglen Muscat NV, Victoria
This Australian sticky is the natural follow-up (or accompaniment) to fruitcake or other spiced holiday goodies. Or enjoy it on its own while making googly-eyes at your sweetie-pie.
Pedro Romero Pedro Ximenez “Extra Rich” Sherry
Known to aficionados simply as “PX,” this underappreciated, wildly affordable sherry is perfect for creamy desserts and as an accompaniment to a pipe or a good spicy cigar.
Chateau Liot Sauternes
Sure, Chateau d’Yquem will run you approximately the same as a new home, but they’re far from the only producer in Sauternes. And while Chateau Lion isn’t exactly a household name, this bottling is irresistible.