Updated: Jul 3
One of the great pleasures of being a sommelier is being entrusted with the task of introducing exciting, little-known wine discoveries to adventurous, open-minded aficionados. I’m often asked about new or emerging wine zones to keep an eye on – regions that might be the source of the Next Big Thing? The suggestions I’ve been making lately come as a surprise to many because the regions that fascinate me the most now are decidedly not new. In fact, most are areas that have been producing wines for centuries. The approach to winemaking in these zones, however, is often fresh and exciting. Curious?
In recent years there has been a welcome trend in the revitalization and rejuvenation of old or neglected vineyard sites in less well-known areas like Ribeira Sacra in Spain; the Languedoc-Roussillon in France; South Africa’s Western Cape and the Canary Islands just to name a few. These efforts are led by a new generation of young, visionary winemakers who bring a refreshing energy and creativity to winemaking. This (r)evolution is not limited to the relatively unfamiliar areas; the same trend is happening in places as familiar as Sonoma County, the Finger Lakes and the Willamette Valley. These forward-thinking winemakers honor tradition while pushing boundaries, often resulting in singular interpretations of classic and indigenous grape varieties.
Here are a few delicious wines from some extremely talented winemakers with original points of view.
· Envínate Tinto “Taganan” 2018 - Canary Islands, Spain. A blend of indigenous red grape varieties grown in volcanic soils on cliffside vineyard sites.
· Alheit Vineyards “Cartology” 2017 – Western Cape, South Africa. Chenin Blanc and Semillon, two workhorse varieties in this country. Elevated to a new level of elegance and richness.
· Laura Lorenzo-DaTerra “Azos de Vila” 2017 - Ribeira Sacra, Spain. A field blend of local grape varieties. Herbal, spicy, smoky and dark.
· Nathan K. Dry Riesling 2016 and Nathan K. Pinot Noir 2017 - Finger Lakes, NY. Purity of fruit, sleek texture and refreshing acidity.
· Hope Well Chardonnay 2018 - Eola-Amity Hills, OR. Expressive and focused. Leading the way in a Chardonnay revolution in Oregon?
Please contact your Vine Society team if you are interested in sourcing any of the above wines!