Not every wine falls neatly into a familiar category, and here is a group of bottles that you won’t often find on your neighborhood bistro menu.They range from a little-known German white grape variety vinified in Lodi, California, and a torrontés-pinot grigio blend from Argentina to light-alcohol, fruity-bright lambruscos from central Italy and a red blend from the Israeli mountains.
Medici Ermete I Quercioli Reggiano Lambrusco Secco NV ($10). Bright, grapey flavors, but with some savory complexity and lots of bubbles.
Medici Ermete Concerto Reggiano Lambrusco 2016 ($14). Lightly sweet and very fruity with red grape flavors, lots of fizz, and good acidity.
Rotari Trento Rosé 2013 ($17). A red, fruity Italian sparkler with mineral notes, a little heavy and a little grapey.
Bird in Hand Adelaide Hills Sparkling Pinot Noir NV ($25). Lots of crisp cherry fruit, good floral notes, and a hint of cream in the finish.
Ferrari Perlé Trento Brut 2010 ($27). Crisp but rich, with flavorful yeasty/toasty notes and some minerality.
Masi Masianco Pinot Grigio e Verduzzo delle Venezie 2015 ($13). Crisp, green flavors of white grapes with green herbal notes.
Trivento White Orchid Mendoza Torrontés Reserve 2016 ($13). With 15 percent pinot grigio, this makes a good table wine, with floral notes but also good structure and acidity.
Infamous Goose Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2016 ($15). Quite nice — rich, textured structure with flavors of lime and grapefruit.
Sidebar “Ritchie” Mokelumne River Lodi Kerner 2016 ($15). Refreshing green fruit with a little cream and lots of spritz from this German grape seldom found in America.
Ramey Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2014 ($40). Very fresh, with tart fruitiness and sharp oak notes at the edges.
Ramey “Woolsey Road” Russian River Chardonnay 2014 ($65). Definitely a chardonnay for oak lovers — rounded fruitiness with both tart and toasty oak in the finish.
Concha y Toro Casillero del Diablo Rosé 2016 ($13). Bright, fresh fruitiness and some minerality.
Long Meadow Ranch Anderson Valley Rosé of Pinot Noir 2016 ($25). Tart and fresh, with light berry notes and a crisp savory finish.
Concha y Toro Casillero del Diablo Merlot 2016 ($11). Balanced cherry fruitiness with a green herbal finish.
B. R. Cohn North Coast Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 ($20). Nice cabernet, with excellent wood balance that rounds off the cherry and blackberry fruits.
Kenwood Six Ridges Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2015 ($22). Very bright red fruits — mainly cherries — with savory notes and good acidity.
Pali “Huntington” Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir 2015 ($22). Slightly sweet, but with a tangy finish and cola and root flavors.
Santa Margherita Chianti Classico Riserva 2012 ($23). Not complex, but a nice food wine with good structure and crisp cherry flavors.
Psagot Jerusalem Mountains “Peak” 2014 ($44). A red blend — equal parts syrah and petite sirah plus 15 percent mourvèdre — with ripe cherry flavors, some bitters around the edges, and some metallic notes.
Star Lane Happy Canyon Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 ($47). Good quality for price — deep and delicious, offering vibrant blackberry fruit with good structure and pleasant savory notes.
Cliff Lede “Scarlet Love” Stags Leap Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 ($110). An exceptional wine — dark, rich, rounded blackberry fruits with chocolaty integrated tannins, very long on the palate.
Cockburn Special Reserve Porto NV ($18). Very fruity and fruit-forward; rich and very viscous.
Warre’s Warrior Porto Finest Reserve NV ($19). Lots of jammy fruit, but a good sweet-acid balance — a very harmonious presentation.
Graham’s Six Grapes Reserve Porto ($24). Quite nice — rich, rounded fruit up front with hints of sugarcane in the finish and good body; well-balanced.