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5 Little-Known Wines You’ll Want To Try

Had enough of pinot noir? Bored of what burgundy has to offer? Make way for something new with these under-appreciated wines from UK vineyards and around the world.

It’s always tempting to stick to your favourite wines that you know are perfect for certain occasions – but there’s a whole world of wine out there waiting to be discovered. Take a leap into the unknown with these top five lesser-known wines – two of which are made on home soil.

Lesser-Known Wines from UK Vineyards

Bottles of Tillingham wines

1. Tillingham Winery, East Sussex

English wine harks back to Roman times and there are over 700 UK vineyards still standing today. It has suffered an image problem over the years, but a new wave of exciting winemakers has emerged, and leading the pack is Ben Walgate of Tillingham Wines, Rye, Sussex.

The winery has 70 acres of vines, an impressive visitor centre, restaurant, pizzeria and an eleven-room hotel. His range of fresh-tasting, acid-forward organic wine (white, red, rose, orange) is aged in qvevri (clay urns from Georgia) used to ferment grapes, skins on, without the addition of any extra yeast, a process dating back 8,000 years.

55/Redefined recommends: Rose 2020, £34, order here

A bottle of Camel Valley wine with two filled glasses and flowers

2. Camel Valley, Cornwall

Cornwall doesn’t scream wine country. But the Lindo family – who planted their first vines in the Camel Valley in 1989 — have become one of the UK’s standout producers with a slew of awards to their name.

Ex-RAF pilot Bob Lindo 'did a vintage' in Germany and he and his wife Anne took viticulture courses before opening their winery. The family excel in sparkling wines, and sell their wares at Rick Stein's restaurant in Cornwall and Hakkasan in London, and even export to Japan. Time to jump on board.

55/Redefined recommends: Camel Valley Brut NV

Wine from Around the World

A bottle of Sept Winery wine in front of a concrete backdrop

3. Sept Winery, Lebanon

Lebanon is one of the oldest wine producers in the world (we’re talking BC), but probably one of the most underrated. The first biodynamic vineyard in Lebanon and the first producers of skin-contact wine (orange) wine in the country. Sept (‘seven’ in French) was founded in 2016 by winemaker Maher Harb, who started by making 30L (6.6 gallons) from his kitchen and now produces 20,000L a year.

The production process runs by the lunar calendar and actively preserves the natural balance of the sun, soil, air and water while eliminating chemicals. The wine is made using the centuries-old Merweh grape on Mount Lebanon, which Harb plants in the same way his ancestors did – between olive and fig trees so the vines grow high and stay sheltered.

55/Redefined recommends: Sept Syrah de Nehla 2017

Three bottles of bear flag wine

4. Bear Flag, Sonoma County, California

Outside the falls and trails of Yosemite National Park sits Napa Valley’s lesser-known neighbour, the Sonoma Valley wine region. There are 250 wineries in the area producing everything from delicate Pinot Noirs to zesty California Chardonnays.

Owner of Bear Flag winery and Sonoma County native Aaron Piotter’s philosophy is to “celebrate kindred spirits who stand their ground and resist the norm”. Join him in enjoying a bold, powerful red that's a tribute to the Bear Flag revolt of 1846. Pair its rich flavour with barbecued meats.

55/Redefined recommends: Bear Flag Sonoma County Zinfandel

Hand holding a bottle of Roberta Fugatti pinot grigio wine

5. Roberta Fugatti, Valdadige, Italy

The sister company of the beloved Azienda Agricola Roeno winery in Valdadige is maintained by Roberta, the daughter of Roeno’s founder Rolando Fugatti. Based in Trentino, Roberta maintains the family tradition running this tiny vineyard nestled between two mountain systems. Expect bespoke wines using only local grapes, perfect to enjoy with a charcuterie and cheese board.

55/Redefined recommends: Roberta Fugatti Marzemino

By Judy Cogan