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The 20 Breakout Bottles of 2018

As 2018 comes to a close, so too do the year’s sales figures, giving wine buyers—and sellers—an opportunity to reflect on the bottles that broke away from the pack this year. These are not necessarily the top-selling bottles—a category often dominated by house by-the-glass pours—but the wines that sold unexpectedly well. SevenFifty Daily asked 20 sommeliers, retail buyers, and sales reps to highlight the bottles that were their breakouts in 2018 and offer their theories as to why these wines were such huge hits. (The prices listed are those of the bottles in the respective restaurants, shops, and portfolios.)

Martha Stoumen Varietally Incorrect Zinfandel 2017, Suisun Valley, California; $38/bottle

Selected by Coly Den Haan, owner and sommelier, Vinovore; Los Angeles

Although the Varietally Incorrect Zinfandel was a new release from up-and-coming experimental winemaker Martha Stoumen, Den Haan had no hesitation about stocking up on it. “Martha is one of my favorite winemakers all around,” she says, “and most of her wines are small production and pretty sought after, so I jump on any quantities I can get my hands on.” Since the fall, Den Haan has sold six cases of this Zinfandel—a wine that defies expectations of California Zin. Natural-wine lovers looking for something a little more special than the everyday bottle have taken well to this wine, says Den Haan, and many come back to buy a second bottle for someone else that they think will appreciate it.

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