The Best Wines You’ve Never Heard Of

In 1969 Jack Nicholson appeared in the film Easy Rider. Not many knew who he was then but after stealing a few scenes people started asking “Who is this guy?” He was a great actor that nobody heard of. Wines are no different. So many talented wine makers create little-known gems which, given time, will become the stars of tomorrow. In addition, to compete with the better known bottles sitting next to them on the shelf, these stars are often under priced. If the future me traveled back in time to give the present me a few purchasing tips on which wines to buy before everyone discovers them and their price goes up, I believe the following wines would be on that list. Then I would ask future me to travel back a little further and tell me not to buy the tan Chevy Citation.

Montevina 2006, Barbera ($8.99 on sale): Barbera, typically grown in Italy, is now showing success in California. This bottle is already turning up more frequently in wine shops. It delivers the bigger, earthier flavors of cedar and coffee balanced with lighter fruits like cherry and pomegranate. There is an interesting graham cracker note on the finish. So many flavor profiles within such a light body is like a featherweight boxer with a massive knockout punch. For a taste, the Eden Prairie Dunn Brothers serves this wine by the glass.

Envero 2007, Gran Reserva ($13.99): From Chile, this blend of 93% Cabernet Sauvignon and 7% Carmenere shows aromas of darker berries on the nose. It sports mint and eucalyptus notes up front that fade to lighter, black raspberry like fruit on the mid-palate. The most memorable feature about this wine is the rich, velvet mouthfeel you experience on the finish. It lasts for days.    

Quinta Do Crasto 2004, Douro, Reserva Old Vines (31.99): Don’t let the fact that this wine comes from Portugal scare you. It scares a lot of people and that’s why a wine of this caliber is priced so well. QDC is a blend of various indigenous grapes from Portugal. The nose carries aromas of tobacco and pepper. The tannins, still quite strong, are integrated nicely and this wine will cellar well for another three to six years. Flavors of old wood, spicy raspberry, and a long finish complete this wine. A $32.00 bottle needs to deliver the goods. Quinat Do Crasto does.

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