7 of the Most Underrated Wines in the World

by JJ Buckley Fine Wines

Row of bottles on a wine rack close-upDespite being imbued with a wealth of knowledge about all things wine, even the most well-connected wine enthusiasts haven't tried all of the best wines on the market. 

The fact is, with so many wines from so many regions around the world, it can be easy for great wines to slip through the cracks — even those that come from well-known wine regions. This can be caused by a lack of exportation, a saturated market, or simply by changing tastes in the wine industry. For example, some of the best Californian wines may be essentially unknown in Europe due to their low export rate to the region. 

No matter the reason, sampling varieties of lesser-known wines can add several real gems to your wine collection. Are you interested in tasting relatively unknown yet high-quality wines from around the world? Here are seven of the most underrated wines on the market today:

1.  Rioja Gran Reserva from Spain

With their dark and moody aroma of espresso mixed with spices and notes of plum and berry, Rioja Gran Reservas are an often overlooked but quality wine. 

Gran Reservas are aged for over five years in fine oak barrels — in fact, they must be aged for at least five years to be labeled as a Gran Reserva, with at least two years spent in an oak barrel. Gran Reservas are usually from excellent vintages, making the wine quality a cut above other varieties. This boldly flavored wine pairs well with barbeque dishes, including beef ribs, lamb chops, red meat, and chicken. 

2. White Bordeaux from Pessac-Leognan

Bordeaux is renowned for its red wines whose release is celebrated during an annual event known as en primeur. Given that  red Bordeaux is so lauded by wine lovers from around the world, white wines from Bordeaux are often overlooked. 

White Bordeaux, or Bordeaux Blanc, is created from blends of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. The result is a lovely combination of flavors, including citrus and floral notes, that is neither acidic nor tropical. Bordeaux Blanc pairs well with basil pesto dishes, salads with citrus dressings, and white fin fish like halibut.

3. Dolcetto from Piedmont

Dolcetto is a full and robust wine, but is often eclipsed by Barbaresco and Barolo from the same region in Italy. Dolcetto is usually a deep, romantic ruby or purple shade and features unique flavors of almond, blackberry, and licorice. 

This wine shines as a young wine, one that pairs well with pizza and other classic Italian dishes making it a terrific "weeknight" red. Dolcetto has a low acidity and lovely notes of blueberry and tea leaves, making it a great pairing with popular charcuterie boards.

4. Zinfandel from Napa

Napa may turn heads for its Cabernet Sauvignon, but this region consistently yields stellar Zinfandels. 

Zinfandel offers a fruitier taste than Cabernet, as well as delightful and complex flavors. Zinfandels provide a wide variety of tasting notes, including cherry, plum, cranberry, black pepper, and sometimes licorice. They are beloved for their sweet taste followed by a smoky finish. 

Due to their nuanced flavors, Zinfandels from Napa pair beautifully with meats. Consider a Zinfandel at your next barbeque for a perfectly rounded summertime meal. 

5. Red Burgundy from Monthelie

Sometimes smaller villages provide exceptional but underrated wines. In many cases, the less famous villages are adjacent to top-notch wine villages. As such, a small village's wine is often excellent, yet much more affordable than its celebrated counterpart. 

Red Burgundy offers a treasure trove of flavors, including truffles, dark cherries, spices, pepper, and licorice, among many others. Accordingly, these complex flavors pair well with dishes that include cheeses, herbs, mustards, or Asian-inspired seafood dishes. 

6. Chasselas from Switzerland

Switzerland produces few wines, but the wines that do emerge from the region are exceptional. Dry Chasselas often feature alpine scents and fruity notes. Their flavors include apple blossom, melon, mint, and sometimes a smoky finish. 

To enjoy a Chasselas in its finest form, pair it with alpine cuisine like grilled lake or river fishes, as well as fondue style cheeses or garlic prawns. 

7. Reds from Corsica

Reds from the island of Corsica are distinctly delightful and complex. They can also be surprisingly age-worthy. 

These earthy wines pair with a long list of meals, including grilled chicken dishes, antelope, pork chops, beef rolls, stroganoff, and even black pudding. No matter what you pair it with, red wines from Corsica will evoke the warm, sleepy charm of the island where they are cultivated. 

Exploring New Wines 

There is a time and a place to enjoy classic varietals, but it can be exhilarating to sample some of the more unnoticed wines of the world. Rather than staying in your comfort zone, discover the unknown and the underrated wines that you’ve been missing out on. 

If you’re on the hunt for different wines that you may not have tried yet, JJ Buckley can help you track down anything — from the most popular to the least-known wine varieties. No matter what flavor you’re craving, our knowledgeable consultants can help you find the perfect bottles of wine to meet your needs.

With a wide range of wines from around the world, JJ Buckley Fine Wines has the perfect wines to fill your wine cellar.