+1 855.946.3338
Unfamiliar wines, undiscovered gems

Unfamiliar wines, undiscovered gems

With so many wine bottles lining the retail shelves it can be easy to miss new or emerging underrated wines. It’s easy to stick with the familiar, but there are so many unfamiliar wines out there to explore. Some are made with grapes you may not have heard of.

Portugal may be the most underrated wine region in the world. For centuries Portugal has been famed for its Port style wines. But this southern European country has a 300-year history of winemaking and boasts 250 indigenous grapes including touriga nacional, tinta roriz and touriga francesa. In the past, wines made in Portugal, other than Ports, rarely made it to the export market. Port producers considered the valuable grapes as worthy only to be made into luscious, sweet fortified wines. The grapes of lesser quality or those left over were used for local consumption. Today, Portugal’s wine industry is bringing unique value-priced and quality-driven wines to the world market.


  • 2015 Silk and Spice Red Blend, Portugal (about $13 retail)


  • 2015 Twisted Douro Tinto, Portugal (about $16 retail)


When it comes to obscure wines, I’m not sure you can top the distinctive aspects of the Nero d’Avola, a grape indigenous to Sicily. Talented producers are proving this grape’s quality and potential. Sicily has an ideal climate and geography for growing grapes, mountains for hillside plantings, low rainfall, poor soils and the intense summer heat ideal for ripening grapes. The Nero d’Avola undoubtedly has the potential to become a rising star in the wine market. It is capable of offering wines with great richness, texture and longevity, and has an easy drinking style that many wine drinkers seek.


  • 2015 Stemmari Nero D’Avola, Sicily (about $10 retail)


  • 2015 Planeta la Segreta, Sicily (about $16 retail)


Cremant de Limoux can easily rival the world’s best Champagne house and is a best kept secret for those who enjoy bubbly but are looking for a value. Cremant is made like Champagne with the “traditional method” using a second fermentation taking place in the bottle. The dry style is my favorite, with its rustic yeasty characters. Some of the styles made from the indigenous grapes of mauzac are also known as blanquette. The remainder of the blend generally uses the more known grapes, chardonnay and chenin blanc. For all of those celebrations or just the craving for bubbly, Cremant de Limoux will not disappoint.


  • NV Calvet Cremant de Bordeaux, France (about $17 retail)


  • 2015 Thomas Jefferson Gerard Bertrand Cuvee, France (about $24 retail)
Clerk eager to help in search for wine

Clerk eager to help in search for wine

It happens to the best of us while shopping for wine. We find ourselves standing in an aisle staring blankly at rows and rows of wines from around the world. “Should I get the chardonnay? What is the difference between the one from California and France? Do I even like chardonnay?” Well, you shouldn’t have to go it alone. Enter: the professional.

I think many people forget store employees are the ones you should seek as soon as you walk in the door. They are the knights you want to take into battle. Most liquor stores and bottle shops with large wine selections have at least one employee who is incredibly passionate and knowledgeable about wine. In fact, they are most likely waiting for you to ask for help.

Many have passed credentialed testing, been a part of the buying and tasting process, are up to date on trends, and at the very least are familiar with the store’s selections.

Speaking up for help also has many perks. The more you shop with them and the more they get to know your taste, likes and dislikes, the easier they can make your shopping experience. They may even start telling you about new wines coming in, tasting events and even some wines you buy regularly that happen to be the special of the week. With this insider information comes the most important of all for you the consumer, a personal wine educator. You can learn so much from just asking for advice and trying recommendations from these professionals.

My advice has always been, let the hospitality of the employees guide you. On almost every trip to shop for wine I seek out advice from the ones who know the most in the store, the wine clerk.

These are a few suggestions from the many out there helping to make wine buying easier. Thank you for your guidance!


  • 2015 Bonterra Sauvignon Blanc, California (about $13 retail)
  • 2015 Broadside Chardonnay, California (about $15 retail)
  • 2014 Apaltagua Winery Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon, Chile (about $12 retail)
  • 2015 Lorenza Rose, California (about $16 retail)


  • 2015 Raptor Ridge Pinot Gris, Oregon (about $19 retail)
  • 2014 Wente Riva Ranch Chardonnay, California (about $26 retail)
  • 2015 Azur Rose, California (about $21 retail)
  • 2015 Force of Nature Mossfire Ranch Merlot, California (about $25 retail)