High on the Vine: No food? No problem. Five obscure wines to try right now

Bubbles, whites, and reds
Colangelo & Partners Public Relations
Colangelo & Partners Public Relations

After a long day at work, all I really want is a glass of wine. A platter of cheese or a board of charcuterie would be thrilling pairings, but most of the time, that calls for a fussy level of effort and planning I just can’t handle at that moment.

For wines without food, I always go for minimal tannins (so no heavy reds) and good acidity (wines that makes your mouth water, literally). Obviously you can uncork that big California Cab if you want, but your mouth might be as dry as sandpaper. In the alternative, check out these five obscure wines below. 

Berlucchi Franciacorta Brut
Champagne, Cava, Prosecco—they’re all carbonated, bubbly wines made in different regions of the world. But have you heard of Franciacorta (pronounced Fran-cha-cor-tah)? It’s an Italian sparkler out of Lombardy that’s made just like Champagne. This Berlucchi Franciacorta is dry, zesty, and super crisp. It’s also difficult to find, but currently St. Cecilia has some on their wine list.

2013 Domaine Guillemarine
Looking for a bargain bottle? Here it is. If you like the easy-breezy style of Pinot Grigio, then you’ll dig Domaine Guillemarine, which is made out of Picpoul de Pinet in the south of France in Langeudoc. Available at Hop City, $13.99

2013 Dirty & Rowdy Semillon
The winery’s owners have Georgia roots, but the grapes are actually grown in California. A few weeks back Dirty & Rowdy got the green light to sell in this state, and I’d argue that their best effort is the Semillon, a grape most often blended with Sauvignon Blanc to make white Bordeaux. Drink at room temperature to catch loads of lemon peel and a long, savory finish. The acidity is intense, a bit like drinking electricity. Limited availability at H&F Bottle Shop, $36

2011 Clos Guirouilh, Jurançon Sec
Gros Manseng and Petit Corbu are two obscure grapes grown in Jurancon, an appellation in southwest France known more for its sweet wines. This sec is bright straw yellow in the glass, refreshing, round, and surprisingly mineral-driven. Available at H&F Bottle Shop, $25

2011 Estay
I wouldn’t peg the Estay as cheap, but at $18, it certainly over-delivers on quality. Tempranillo is the usual Spanish red varietal, but this Estay is made from Prieto Picudo. Silky and structured (read: complex) with a tinge of heat, it’s a thoughtful wine worth stocking up on. Available at Perrine’s Wine Shop, $18.99