For the past decade, wines from Central and Eastern Europe have been something of a sommelier secret stateside. The names can be hard to pronounce (hárslevelű, anyone?), but the best bottles offer exceptional value and tend to work extremely well with food.
Here are the three recommended wines:
Samuel Tinon Furmint Birtok (Tokaj, Hungary)
Sommeliers and wine insiders have been raving about furmint for years. The grape, which is commonly used to make Hungary’s famous sweet wines, also makes an intriguing dry wine with medium- to full-body and high acidity (read: an ideal wine to pair with food).
Piquentum Blanc (Istria, Croatia)
Croatia may have initially gained some international fame for its red wines, but many sommeliers now feel that the white Malvasia coming out of the country is some of the best representations of the grape in Europe. When made in a dry style, it makes a crisp wine with some weight in the body, similar to dry Chenin Blanc.
Orgo Rkatsiteli (Kakheti, Georgia)
Georgian wines can be tricky to pin down from producer to producer. Some are quite rustic and oxidative, while a growing number offer more polish. Natural wine converts prize the skin-fermented wines made in traditional clay qvevri (clay pots). A fair warning: the unusual orange colored wines are not to everyone’s taste, but are worth a try—maybe you’ll be the next super fan.