Sometimes a renegade wine is so good, it creates an entirely new tradition.
2004 Bonny Doon Le Cigare Volant ($32)
When Randall Grahm first bottled this amusingly named, juicy Châteauneuf-du-Pape look-alike in the mid-1980s, there were essentially no Rhône-style California blends. Now, thanks to his lead, there are dozens.
2006 Tignanello ($95)
Piero Antinori didn’t coin the term Super-Tuscan, but this ambitious, smoky red effectively created the category. In 1971, Antinori’s first innovation—using no white grapes in his red wine—defied Chianti regulations at the time; in 1975 he raised eyebrows again by blending French varieties with Tuscany’s native Sangiovese.
2006 Clos Mogador ($100)
Winemaker René Barbier arrived in Spain’s rugged Priorat in the 1980s, when the area was mostly known for rough, cheap, boozy reds. Barbier and five friends (among them Alvaro Palacios) recognized the region’s promise. Now the Priorat’s intense, black-fruited reds—defined by wines like the superconcentrated Clos Mogador—are among Spain’s finest.