5.5 of the Wackiest Wines To Give For the Holidays

At this very nano-second Underdog Wine Company’s Ryan Sciara is up to his eyeballs in gift bags filled with bottles of wine awaiting Christmas delivery. But it’s not the pedestrian vino you find in liquor stores. Nope, Sciara and his team have found a niche in the metro finding off-the-wall wines. “The good thing is we have this reputation for stocking a lot of small production, not-your-usual-suspect wines and our customers are—for the most part—open to trying the wines we’re excited about,” says Sciara. “The wine world is wide open and there are so many great, interesting and—well, wacky—wines out there.”


So we asked Sciara to come up with his five and one half wackiest wines to give as a gift this holiday season. And, believe us, he didn’t disappoint. We haven’t heard of any of these. (PS. Yes, these vinos are way out there. Yes, we’re aware. Yes, you’re welcome in advance.)

Field Recordings “Red Hot” Valdiguie – Paso Robles, California
“It’s wine. In a can. Yup, the canned wine movement is nothing new but Andrew Jones (the mind behind Field Recordings) is putting some really fun wines in his ‘Original Can Club’—read that: small lots of experimental blends. Frothy raspberry and cranberry flavors in quite possibly the best canned wine ever.”

Paltinieri “Radice” Lambrusco di Sorbara – Emilia-Romagna, Italy
“This is not your Grandma’s Lambrusco! In fact, it is one of the most unique wines in the shop. Our Pet Nat (Petillant Natural or Methode Ancestral) categories are on fire for us. (Thanks, hipsters!) This ‘Frizzante’ rosé is one of the wines that put Lambrusco back on the map! This vibrant ‘Frizzante’—a.k.a. slightly sparkling—offers up aromas and flavors of wild strawberry, violet, savory cherry and grapefruit.”

4) Caves Vidigal “Brutalis” – Lisboa, Portugal
“Portugal is not the first place you think of for big, structured Cabernet Sauvignon blends. Brutalis is perfect for those Cali Cab drinkers. It’s a blend of 50/50 Cab Sauv and Alicante Bouchet. It’s dark, rich and plummy, and the bottle is so big it feels full when it is empty.”

3) Cruse Wine Co. “Monkey Jacket” – North Coast, California
“If the name isn’t wacky enough, then the blend sure is. Mainly Valdiguie (51%) with the remainder of Syrah and Carignan. It has super high-toned aromatics and gobs of juicy, tart red fruits. (Gobs is a very technical term.) This one is for the adventurous Pinot Noir drinker.”

2) Stolpman “Combe” Trousseau Rouge – Ballard Canyon, California
“I freakin’ love this wine, but it is one that I do have to make sure people know what they are getting themselves into before they just take it home & pop the cork. Trousseau—known as Bastardo, seriously—is originally from Jura in France, but you can find small plantings in California. I have poured this wine for my wife a handful of times and every time she looks at it and says, ‘Whoa, that’s interesting?’ The color of this Trousseau is incredibly pale for a red wine but the aromas, flavors and texture of this are absolutely stunning (albeit a little bit funky). Smoked raspberry, cherry juice and savory herbs touch all your taste buds. After tasting however, my wife Jenny always gives me that look and then admits, ‘Oh yeah, I looooove this wine!’”

1) Swick Wines Only Zuul (Skin Contact) – Oregon & Washington
“Some folks will get the Ghostbusters reference. (Uh, I didn’t until I was told.) Be advised, there isn’t anything Joe Swick does that isn’t outside the box. Call it ‘orange wine’ or ‘skin contact,’ this blend of Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer is treated like a red wine (spends time on its skins) and has an electric pink color. (Electric pink, people!) The palate is a mash-up of flowers (think rosés), fruit punch and juicy blood oranges.”

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