Whether you\u2019re in the wine business or just the business of drinking wine, it\u2019s inevitable that you\u2019ll fall into a rut. It\u2019s easy to default to brand recognition, familiarity of grape variety or known places like Bordeaux and Burgundy, Barolo or Rioja.\r\n\r\nAs someone who\u2019s had the privilege to travel widely, I\u2019ve never spurned the chance to explore little-known wine regions. And while those lesser-traveled roads have had their bumps (quite literally, as in dirt \u201croads\u201d through cow pastures in Romania on which we regularly encountered horse-drawn carriages, or on one day, a tiny car with a coffin strapped to its roof), they\u2019ve also had highlights.\r\n\r\nWhile the other writer who accompanied me on this side trek was appalled at the helter-skelter nature of the vineyard, I was charmed.\r\n\r\nA few years ago, I took a tour through small regions in south and southwest France. Some of the wines were great: tart, crisp whites from Gaillac and C\u00f4tes de Gascogne, rich, unique Malbecs from \u00adCahors and smoky, seductive reds made from \u00adN\u00e9grette in Fronton.\r\n\r\nOften, the stories of the winemakers were just as compelling, whether it involved the romantic reclaiming of a neglected estate and lost grape varieties or the practical struggle to gain recognition for a small region that doesn\u2019t have, as one Malbec producer told me, \u201cArgentina\u2019s sex and tango.\u201d\r\n\r\nEven in better-known regions, these small stories exist. On a visit to Bordeaux\u2019s St-Emilion, I passed up a visit to a Premier Grand Cru Class\u00e9 estate to spend the afternoon at Ch\u00e2teau Coutet, a winery whose quirkiness is reflected in its long history and its current stewardship.\r\n\r\nI\u2019d been told the vineyard was \u201cOne of the most exciting terroirs in the world.\u201d Though owner Xavier David Beaulieu shrugs off such titles, as well as rules.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nHis unprogrammed 32-acre plot amid some of the appellation\u2019s most prestigious estates\u2014Angelus, Beause\u0301jour and Canon among them\u2014is biodynamic by default. It has attracted rare birds and insects coming for the even rarer flora, like the wild gladiola and Roman tulips that have thrived here for centuries.\r\n\r\nWhile the other wine writer who accompanied me on this side trek was appalled at the helter-skelter nature of the vineyard, I was charmed.\r\n\r\nAs a reward for my intrepidness, Beaulieu pulled out a rare bottle from his cave, made by his grandmother, as a toast to adventurers. I don\u2019t know where that other writer ended up that afternoon, but I stayed until dark and until the strange night birds came out and pecked at the grapes, with nary a protest from Beaulieu.\r\n\r\nAs much as I know future wine travels will include the manicured estates in marquis regions, I also hope they include these small, strange treasures. And the next time you\u2019re in a drinking rut, try something similarly off the beaten track.