A new era of wine producers are pushing conventional domestic winemaking boundaries, experimenting with varietals outside the usual suspects, and supporting a growing niche of aromatized beverages. We asked top sommeliers and wine directors at restaurants across the country to suggest wines that are as excellent as they are unique—budget and splurge-worthy. Your oenophile friends will be awestruck if you gift any of the bottles below. —Kat Odell

Photo of Wind Gap Trousseau Gris

Wind Gap Trousseau Gris

“Trousseau gris was once really well known in California as ‘gray riesling.’ Now, winemakers like Pax Mahle are reintroducing a vivacious grape that has a long history in the Russian River. Yummy, aromatic, fun, diverse, zesty and rounded all at the same time!” —June Rodil, Beverage Director of McGuire Moorman Hospitality, Austin

Photo of God Only Knows Grenache

God Only Knows Grenache

“When you look at a splurge wine, you want something which you can say is next to impossible to get, tastes delicious and causes envy by anyone who doesn’t get it or sees that you did. That’s exactly what God Only Knows evokes!” —Will Costello, Wine Director at the Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas

Photo of Angelicall Rose

Angelicall Rose

“Winemaker Maggie Harrison has crafted a wine that breaks boundaries as it drinks like a stupefyingly complex pinot, but has little to no discernible tannins and a resounding vibrancy.” —Andrew Fortgang, owner/sommelier of Le Pigeon, Portland

Photo of Big Table Farm

Big Table Farm

“An aromatic nose of white peach and tangerine, dry on the palate with bright acidity and creamy texture on the finish. A barrel fermented riesling with tons of life and energy.” —Nelson Daquip, Wine & Spirits Director of Canlis, Seattle

Photo of Bone-Jolly Gamay

Bone-Jolly Gamay

“There really aren’t a lot of producers making gamay in California, and while more are starting to experiment with the grape every year, there are only a few that do it and even fewer that do it well. This one is really top notch. It’s fresh, fruity and light bodied, and works so well with different types of foods.” —Patrick Cappiello, Wine Director of Pearl & Ash, New York

Photo of Falla


“This is a chardonnay made by a California producer that has nerve and tension like a great white Burgundy. Made from old vine Chardonnay. Talk about a wine that is helping with the California renaissance” - Bobby Stuckey, Owner/ Master Sommelier of Frasca Food and Wine, Boulder

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