5 Underrated Wine Regions
Champagne, Burgundy, Napa Valley, Marlborough, Stellenbosch are sub-regions in winemaking nations, and they have made a name for themselves based on the typicity of the wines. Smart marketing has also added to the popularity of these regions. But at the same time there are other regions in the same wine country which have exceptional wines but the spotlight hasn’t hit them yet.
Best thing about these wines and their lack of popularity is that in the global market they still remain affordable. But the quality is unquestionable and is comparable to some of the most expensive wines on the planet. Some of these wines are also made with cellaring in mind and they can happily sit in your cellars till you deem it right to open them. We present 5 of such underrated wine regions.
Despite the fact that Sicily has had a wine making tradition which is as long as any other parts of Italy (think Marsala) not many are exposed to the incredible wines of the island. Varietals like Nero d’Avola, Nerello Mascalese, Inzolia, Grillo, etc, are slowly becoming popular with wineries giving more attention to quality of these wines. The red wines are known for the richness with dark fruits and spice notes while the white wines are refreshing with great balance of acidity and fruitiness. Wines from Mount Etna, one of the few active volcanoes on Earth, are another highlight for Sicily. The difficult terroir of the region make for unique wines.
Austria has been living under the shadows German dominance over wines like Riesling and Grüner Veltliner. Austria too produces the same wines, what differentiates them is the style. Austrian wines are known to be dry, crisp and with great acidity. Grüner Veltliner is the primary wine followed by Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Blaufränkisch and Zweigelt. The good news is that these wines are slowly gaining popularity and momentum globally; the country exported wines worth €139 million in 2013.
Loire Valley, France
In central France along the banks for Loire River lays this wine region. But they lose out because of big brothers from Bordeaux and Burgundy. Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc from Sancerre and Pouilly-Fume to Cabernet Franc from Chinon, are the well known wines from Loire. Both red and white wines from Loire are known for its crisp acidity and are meant to paired with food. They also stand beautifully on their own too. Very few know of the fact that Loire is also the second largest producer of sparkling wine in France after Champagne, they follow the Crémant method.
Cru Beujolais, France
Yes, Beaujolais is supposed to be an easy drinking red wine and yes, the region is always in the rush for their wines to be ready for Beujolais Noveau. But there is much! The Cru Beaujolais wines are produced with as much care and effort as wines in any other regions of France. Gamay is the predominant grape used for the wines here which is often blended with Pinot Noir. 10 Cru, which means villages, south of Burgundy are known for quality wines from this region. These particular wines range from easy drinking to intense and robust depending on the house style of the winery.
There is more to Portuguese wine than just Port. Duoro which is home to Port has been making excellent table wines for a while now. There are also other regions like Algarve, Bairrada and Dão which have also been producing exceptional wines. Vinho Verde is the quintessential blended wine style from the country meant to be consumed young. Mature wines are also produced. Both red and white versions of the wine works well the Mediterranean climate of Portugal. Local grape varietals like Trincadeira, Baga and Aragonês still dominate wine production along with few international varietals.
Featured Image: Vineyards overlooking Marchesi de Gregorio, Sicily.