Try: Melon de Bourgogne
Bottle: Lieu Dit Melon, $21
Pair with: oysters
Better known as Muscadet in the Loire Valley, Melon de Bourgogne checks all the same boxes as pinot grigio (crisp, inexpensive, as innocuous as a Lemon Drop), with bonus points for its steely edge and stone fruit notes.
Bottle: Do Ferreiro Abariño, $20
Pair with: shrimp
On the hunt for Sancerre's mineral verve and aromatic complexity, sans the hefty price tag? Look to northern Spain's signature shellfish sidekick, which has an extra saline punch due to its proximity to the Atlantic.
Try: Chenin Blanc
Bottle: Champalou Vouvray, $22
Pair with: roast chicken
Whether you're into stoic Chablis or Napa butter bombs, there's a Chenin for you, particularly in Vouvray, where offerings range from bone-dry to lush and floral.
Try: Hondarrabi Beltza
Pair with: grilled sausages or hot dogs
Provence might have its grip on the #yeswayrose craze, but Basque country—with its lip-smacking watermelon character and trademark fizz—is our preferred pink fix.
Try: Pet Nat
Pair with: a toast!
Like Champagne minus the pomp and pageantry. Cava with some hipster cred. This naturally sparkling wine, colloquially known as "pét-nat" (pétillant naturel), has become the most sought-after patio pounder. Unfiltered, lower in alcohol, and made with an ancestral technique that predates the Champagne method, dewy bottles of pét-nat are perfect both as aperitif and celebratory toast. Crafted from all manner of red and white grapes, it has the potential to usurp anything from Lambrusco to a vinho verde.
Bottle: Bow & Arrow Gamay Noir, $20
Pair with: salmon
Burgundy's other red grape has shed its second-banana status, with herbal, earthy offerings now popping up in California, Oregon, and even the Finger Lakes.
Bottle: Luigi Giordano Langhe Rosso, $19
Pair with: pizza
Typically from younger vines outside Barolo and Barbaresco, Langhe nebbiolo is a softer, more approachable expression of Piedmont's most famous grape, with raspberry and rose petal notes conducive to a wide array of eats.
Pair with: burgers
Merlot has never quite recovered from its Sideways-induced ostracization. Instead, closet fans, look to this tannic southern Italian varietal to get your fill of plummy, dark fruit flavor.
Bottle: Armas de Guerra Tinto, $14
Pair with: pork tenderloin
Spain's savviest new winemakers are turning to this recently revived grape, which falls somewhere between Beaujolais (light-bodied) and better bottles of Rioja (ripe cassis and black cherry).
Bottle: Dirty & Rowdy Mourvèdre, $30
Pair with: spareribs
Argentinian Malbec is a gateway red for many. But for your next cookout, try on this gaucho-approved Rhone varietal, which dials back the oak and amps up the rustic, meaty overtones.
Try: Cabernet Franc
Pair with: steaks
It might be sacrilege to suggest steak has a superior soulmate. But with aromas of licorice and brambly blackberry, we confess we'll take our beef with the other Cab.