Here are 5 underrated regions you must try!
Wine Importer | Wine List Consultant | Speaker
Look, something is really bugging me lately and I feel I need to talk about it.
I'm tired of people sticking to what they know and not exploring outside of their comfort zone.
There...I said it.
Yes, Prosecco is great. Yes Provence Rosé is lovely. Yes, Moët Champagne 'will do' at times...but there are so many smaller, underrated areas that are sooo good at what they do and people just don't pick it up in fear of it not being to their taste. At the end of the day, you cannot expand your palate unless you allow yourself to get into unfamiliar territory.
Here are 5 underrated wine regions you need to try to help you expand your wine knowledge!
1. Luberon/Ventoux - Southern Rhone, France.
By far, one of my favourite regions in France. The wines produced her are in scale but of seriously high quality. Provence rosés are usually highly acidic and not that complex (unless you are spending big money on them) yet I find the Rosé out of Luberon to be generous, great value for money and really interesting. They also have a little more flexibility with production in Luberon so it's worth checking out (particularly our Single Vineyard, 100% Syrah Petula Rosé). Ventoux is also famous for Grenache that is rich, bold and juicy. Some of the wines from this area absolutely blow my socks off (particularly Marrenon's Old Vine Grenache called "Orca)
2. Eger, Hungary.
I visited this area on a recent trip to Budapest. I. Loved. It. The cellar doors were like little restaurants/caves that you walked into, paid a small amount and the samples were like full glasses of wine. We walked out pretty happy but the wines were amazing. Particularly Bulls Blood. Who would think Hungary would make anything other that Tokay? Well, let me tell you, the still wines they produce are incredible...particularly the black pepper, high acid, dry white wines. AMAZING and worth tasting. If you are a fan of BIG reds, try some bulls blood.
3. Wachau Valley, Austria
Gruner Vetliner...must I say more? How about Zweigelt? Blaufrankish? There are three wines for you. Gruner is white. Zweigelt and Blaufrankish are red (actually, Zweigelt is a hybrid of Blaufrankish and St Laurent). Try them. They are each dry and deeply complex even when young. I love a peppery yet fruity character in wine...it's kind of like Salt and Caramel... so well balanced. I highly recommend giving these wines a try.
4. Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina
Famous for spicy, floral styles of Malbec rather than the fruit driven style. There are not a lot of wineries up in this region so the wines are quite high quality and small production. Delicious and well paired with food of all sorts. I was never a fan of Malbec because my 'baseline' was Alamos. I felt it lacked any kind of character. As soon as I tried wines from Uco Valley, I've become hooked on Malbec. I highly recommend trying Andeluna 1300 Malbec for a good entry level understanding of Uco Valley and then progressing up their incredible wines...from Altitud to Pasionado. Amazing examples of what this high altitude region can do.
5. Heathcote, Australia
Did you know Shiraz isn't just grown in the Barossa? Shock horror haha. I say that in gest. Obviously, Australian's love Shiraz but personally, I love the Heathcote. They are producing some incredible Shiraz but also some outstanding Italian Varietals and more... This region enjoys a warm, Mediterranean climate with little rain and are famous for delicate wines with so much complexity.
So, next time you are in a bottle shop, don't be shy to explore what 'else' is out there. Old faithful will always be there but what about all the amazing wines you are missing because you are too scared to try something new? Also, give new wines a few sips before you judge them. When your palate is only familiar with Malborough Sauvignon Blanc, how can you expect it to immediately enjoy a Chardonnay? It takes time for your palate to calibrate so take your time, don't judge right away.
Are there any interesting wines you've tried lately? Let me know in the comments below.
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