Before you get into exotics such as Grüner Veltliner or Vinho Verde, your wine cellar (or closet or shelf) needs some basics. In terms of whites, you can't go wrong with this South African Sauvignon Blanc, especially since it's less than $20. With the 2006 vintage, winemaker Kevin Grant delivers a terrific example of South African terroir and winemaking. Zesty yet elegant, this multidimensional Sauvignon Blanc from the Western Cape carries accents of lemon and grapefruit, earth and limestone. Quite impressive for an estate that's only a few years old.
Enjoy a bottle with freshly shucked oysters or clams, clam chowder, peel 'n' eat shrimp and other seafood.
-- S. Irene Virbila
Region: Western Cape, South Africa
Price: $15 to $20
Style: Crisp and minerally
What it goes with: raw shellfish, clam chowder, peel 'n' eat shrimp.
Where you find it: Amazing Grapes Wine Store in Rancho Santa Margarita, (949) 888-9007, www.amazinggrapeswinestore; K&L Wine Merchants in Hollywood, (323) 464-9463, www.kl; Twenty Twenty Wine Merchants in West Los Angeles, (310) 447-2020, www; Wine Exchange in Orange, (714) 974-1454 and (800) 769-4639, www.winex.com; and Woodland Hills Wine Co. in Woodland Hills, (818) 222-1111, www.whwc.com.