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Whether it’s your in-laws, boss or very best friend from elementary school, we all have at least one person in our life who throws around fancy words like “peaty” or “leggy” and has definitely tasted the most expensive bottle on the menu. We turned to our favorite sommeliers for recommendations on stellar, unusual bottles that’ll knock the socks off of even the biggest wine snob. 

RELATED: This $8 Rosé Was Just Named One of the Best Wines in the World

gut oggau josephine burgenland
Astor Wines

Gut Oggau, Josephine, Burgenland, Austria 2015

Sommelier: Hugh Crickmore, Wine Director of Roberta’s and Blanca

Straight from the horse’s mouth, this producer is making some of the hippest vino of the past few years. Your wine enthusiast bestie will be overjoyed to drink this Blaufränkisch and Roesler blend…with Archie Shepp, Miles Davis or Rahsaan Roland Kirk playing in background.

Buy it ($70)

hudelot baillet chambolle musigny 1er cru les cras 2014
Wine Journey

Hudelot-Baillet, Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru LES CRAS 2014

Sommelier: Michael Engelmann, Wine Director at The Modern

Take it from a master sommelier: This high-quality bottle of red burgundy is a total steal. It’s got that round, soft mouthfeel that distinguishes a truly “nice” bottle from a cheaper one. Lively notes of red cherries and dark raspberries are extra delightful.

Buy it ($84)

2010 sugrue pierre brut the troule with dreams
Sugrue Pierre

2010 Sugrue Pierre Brut “The Trouble With Dreams” South Downs, UK

Sommelier: Daniel Pilkey, Head Sommelier at Maple & Ash

Surprise that friend whose ’Gram is filled with at least five pictures of oysters with this crisp sparkler from an unsuspecting producer in Sussex. Aromas of lemon verbena, chalk and sea salt pair dreamily with shellfish.

Buy it ($75)

2014 domaine forey pere et fils1
Best of Wines

2014 Domaine Forey, Pere Et Fils, Morey Saint Denis, France

Sommelier: Liz Martinez, Director of Wine at Prime + Proper

A premier cru Pinot Noir from Burgundy = la crème de la crème. Aged for several years, this impeccable bottle is ready to drink right now (aka bring it to a party where you know it’ll be opened). Everyone will enjoy complex notes of rose petals, sage and sour cherries.

Buy it ($52)

hedges family estate la haute cuvee
Hedges Family Estate

Hedges Family Estate La Haute Cuvée, Red Mountain, Washington 2013

Sommelier: Sterling Knight, Sommelier and Assistant GM at Cindy’s

Perfect for your environmentally conscious friend, this totally affordable sipper is biodynamic and organic certified. The full-bodied red blend reminds us of worn-in leather, black currants, bramble and cigar box (that means it’s smoky).

Buy it ($35)

jose dhondt champagne blanc de blancs brut
Drink Dispatch

Jose Dhondt Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut, Champagne, NV

Sommelier: Amy Racine, Wine Director at John Fraser Restaurant Associates

OK, your friend’s taste in wine verges on hoity-toity, but bless her heart, she’s pretty down to earth about everything else. She has permission to pair this light and dry Champagne with McDonald’s French fries and Netflix if she wants (notes of yellow apple, lemon and lime actually complement them well).

Buy it ($35)

domaine papagiannakos savatiano
Domaine Papagiannakos

Domaine Papagiannakos Savatiano, Markopoulo, Greece

Sommelier: Kamal Khouri, Wine Director at Molyvos

This Greek treasure is definitely a crowd-pleaser, but it’s also interesting and has character (think: a vivid herbal edge around citrus and stone fruit, basically sunshine in your glass). It signals you know your stuff.

Buy it ($20)

sylvain dussort meursault cuvee de ormes
Le Repaire de Bacchus

Sylvain Dussort Meursault Cuvée des Ormes, Cote de Beaune, Burgundy, France

Sommelier: Rachel Driver Speckan, National Wine Director at City Winery

Meet the LBD of the wine world: A classic, impeccable white Burgundy that pairs especially well with soft, stinky cheeses like Epoisses. Perfect for when you want to give something nice, but honestly don’t know the person you’re giving it to very well.

Buy it ($60)

agrapart terroirs blanc de blancs
Wine Republic

Agrapart, Terroirs, Blanc de Blancs, Champagne, NV

Sommelier: Michael Engelmann, Wine Director at The Modern

A stellar bottle of bubbly is a tried-and-true way to impress. This Blanc de Blancs goes above and beyond with its complex notes of apple, brioche, green almonds and white flowers. Plus, it’s versatile enough to enjoy with elegant hors d'oeuvres or fish and chips.

Buy it ($50)

domaine skouras synoro
Greece and Grapes

2012 Domaine Skouras, Synoro, Nemea, Greece

Sommelier: Liz Martinez, Director of Wine at Prime + Proper

An unusual blend of French and Greek grapes (Cabernet Franc/Merlot/Aghiorghitiko), this sipper from George Skouras, the pioneer of international varieties in Greece, is perfect for your friend who seems to have tried every single wine in California.

Buy it ($30)

olivier cousin leduc pur breton 2015
Wine Searcher

Olivier COUSIN-LEDUC PUR BRETON, LOIRE Valley, France 2015

Sommelier: Sterling Knight, Sommelier and Assistant GM at Cindy’s

For someone you want to completely sweep off her feet, this bold French Cabernet is the John Wayne of wines, complete with a rugged charm so smooth that even the farmers are blushing. Made from hand-harvested grapes, its notes of ripe plum, apple core, juicy bing cherry and barnyard hay will hold their own even when completely surrounded by more expensive bottles.

Buy it ($24)

2014 domaine de trevallon alpilles rouge igp
Great Domaines

2014 Domaine de Trevallon, Alpilles Rouge IGP, France

Sommelier: Kathryn Coker, Owner of Esters Wine Shop & Bar

The in-laws will appreciate this full-bodied cult-classic, which will age beautifully in their wine cellar. Growing Cabernet Sauvignon in Provence isn't the norm, but Domaine Trevallon has had this tradition since the mid 20th century.

Buy it ($76)

2016 selected works pinot noir

2016 Selected Works Pinot Noir

Sommelier: Katie Owen, former Wine Director at Winc Wines

Let’s be honest, sometimes you judge a book—er, bottle—by its cover. Design-forward friends will fall for this label created by artist Luke Chiswell of L.A.’s Tappan Collective; the Pinot Noir inside is just as elegant and balanced.

Buy it ($35)

2 15 vermillion red wine
Wine Access

2015 Vermillion Red Wine

Sommelier: Vanessa Conlin, Vice President of Wine at Wine Access

Our best analogy for this fab red blend: The drummer of a grunge band. A stunning example of what happens when a Cabernet expert goes rogue-Rhône, this vino has a lot going on (and it works). Black and red fruits, minerals, rosemary and thyme and roasted coffee come together into a velvety smooth texture.

Buy it ($35)

ktima pavlidis 2015 thema white

Ktima Pavlidis 2015 Thema White, Drama, Greece

Sommelier: Kamal Khouri, Wine Director at Molyvos

The ethos of this winemaker is terroir, terroir, terroir. And you can sense the warm, humid climate of the vineyards in the intense fruity aromas. Citrus, white peaches and mango pair pretty darn well with pizza. So gift it to your favorite cheese-loving wino.

Buy it ($19)

mfw wine co bow   arrow pinot noir hughes hollow vineyard
MFW Wine Co.

MFW Wine Co. Bow & Arrow, Pinot Noir, Hughes Hollow Vineyard, Willamette, Oregon 2015

Sommelier: Hugh Crickmore, Wine Director of Roberta’s and Blanca

Presenting a match made in heaven for the most indie wine snob you know: A super-cool and delicious pick from Scott Frank, who’s leading the pack of young natural winemakers in Oregon. Instantly recognizable as his wine, this bottle tastes of fresh berries, spice and deep minerality. It’s earthy, crunchy and not attempting to be a Pinot from Burgundy.

Buy it ($75)

sky vineyards zinfandel
Sky Vineyards

Sky Vineyards, Zinfandel, Mt. Veeder, California 2012

Sommelier: Hugh Crickmore, Wine Director of Roberta’s and Blanca

For the Francophile who’s forgotten just how awesome California wine can be, this bottle is from one of the first organic properties in the state run by cool hippies and great winemakers. Deep structured red fruit with hints of eucalyptus and crushed blackberry pair pretty darn well with pork tacos.

Buy it ($50)

enfield cabernet sauvignon
Enfield Wine

Enfield Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma Coast, California

Sommelier: Rachel Driver Speckan, National Wine Director at City Winery

The classic Napa Cab devotee will totally appreciate an introduction to something new, exciting, intellectual and balanced (yeah, we’re describing a wine). She’ll marvel at the explosive aromatics, fresh sappiness and aromas of green herbs that somehow still pair perfectly with filet mignon.

Buy it ($60)

eric morgat savennieres 2014
Eric Mortat

Eric Morgat, Savennieres 2014

Sommelier: Michael Engelmann, Wine Director at The Modern

You know that one friend who likes to linger at the table for hours after the plates are cleared? This wine is practically designed for her. Pour a glass of this ambrosia and taste it magically develop over a couple of hours into a mind-blowing Chenin Blanc that tastes like yellow plums and pears and has a long, dry finish.

Buy it ($50)

gantenbein pinot noir graubunden 2014
Gantenbein Wine

Gantenbein Pinot Noir Graubünden, Switzerland 2014

Sommelier: Daniel Pilkey, Head Sommelier at Maple & Ash

“Swiss” and “Pinot Noir” are two words that usually don’t go together. That’s part of the reason this bottle will surprise (and delight) someone who really knows their wine stuff. Meticulous attention to detail makes for a wine that’s so spectacular, you’ll want to enjoy its violet, black cherry and porcini mushroom notes all on their own.

Buy it ($155)

broadbent selections madeira 10 year
Wine Searcher

Broadbent Selections, Madeira, 10 Year

Sommelier: Amy Racine, Wine Director at John Fraser Restaurant Associates

You’re on your way to a birthday party and you want something special. This madeira’s rich espresso and dark chocolate notes just so happen to complement chocolate cake. The best part? Unlike port, it’s not on everyone’s radar and it isn’t too sweet.

Buy it ($33)

2014 teeter totter cabernet sauvignon
Wine Access

2014 Teeter Totter Cabernet SAUVIGNON, NAPA VALLEY

Sommelier: Vanessa Conlin, Vice President of Wine at Wine Access

When you want to give something that tastes extravagant, here’s a cab that can stand shoulder to shoulder with high-priced, high-profile Napa counterparts—for under $100. Bursting with classic Cabernet notes of blackcurrant, mocha, anise and cedar, this bottle is like getting an upgrade to first class.

Buy it ($55)

2016 arnot roberts syrah
Arnot Roberts

2016 Arnot Roberts, Syrah, Sonoma Coast, California

Sommelier: Kathryn Coker, Owner of Esters Wine Shop & Bar

For the man in your life who’s just as particular about his wine as he is his cheeseburgers, this vibrant, fruit-forward and lightly oaky Syrah is sure to impress on date night.

Buy it ($54)

2014 foradori teroldego
Louis/Dressner Selections

2014 Foradori Teroldego

Sommelier: Katie Owen, former Wine Director at Winc Wines

Your lady friends will love the fact that this bottle is made by one of the most influential female winemakers, Elisabetta Foradorii. Full of spice, red and black fruits and hints of olives, this Teroldego is like the leading heroine in an action film—daring and full of surprises.

Buy it ($27)

chateau de breze rose cremant del loire
Wine Library


Sommelier: Marcus Gausepohl, Wine Director at Ibiza Food and Wine Bar

This bottle has a special story: It’s made from organic grapes grown around a towering 15th-century castle that happens to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The dry sparkler is impressive but not over the top—what we like to call an all-the-time wine you can drink by the pool, after school, at the bar or in the yard.

Buy it ($20)

RELATED: The 3 Types of Wine It’s OK to Go Cheap On (and 2 You Shouldn’t)

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