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This will be a pretty epic season of breaking routine. As we finally get to see more sun and socialization, let it be a moment of breezy new experiences in wine. Here are some adventurous, genre-bending bottles to challenge your assumptions and strike up new cork-popping celebrations. You deserve at least several by now.

Sainte Anne Chardonnay

 Hate Chardonnay? Too heavy, sweet, decadent? Prefer a delicate Pinot Grigio or a subtle Sauv Blanc? Believe it or not, an unoaked, crisp style of Chardonnay like the Sainte Anne from Southern France might be the one to smash your preconceptions. With crunchy green pear and apple, light tropical notes, and a slatey minerality, this is a through-the-looking-glass moment if you thought Cali Chard was the whole shebang.

Nexo Rioja

Do you stick stateside when it comes to reds? Napa Cabs and Willamette Pinots can be reliable mainstays, but there’s a wide world of styles that align with surprising ease to your usual sentiments. Particularly if you’re a Pinot Noir fan, the Rioja spectrum can be a very interesting exploration of Old World style. The Nexo Rioja is brimming with juicy red cherry and black raspberry, finishing with a gentle nudge of the herbaceous earthiness of an aged example.

90+ Cellars Napa Cabernet

 Think there’s no such thing as a deal on a real-deal Napa Cabernet? This wine is tres Rutherford, with classic, rich cassis, tobacco leaf, and bitter chocolate notes, and a smooth but “Rutherford dust” earthiness on the finish. A bottle for going all out, even if you’re going for it a little more often.

Chin chin, dear readers. Fortune favors the bold!

-Aimee Hutchinson | Wine LEad Top Ten Liquors Roseville

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