This series is dedicated to emerging and exciting new wine regions, perhaps not as well known or explored by the mainstream consumer.
“Out with the old and in with the new,” an age-old saying that rings entirely true for the new generation of wine lovers. Much like fashion, food or travel, younger consumers have become very open to exploring new and interesting wines from off the beaten path regions. These consumers aren’t caught up in classic wines from their parents’ Italian collection, opening up a whole new market for less popularized, affordable and crushable wines.
So, where are these wines coming from? From the Canary Islands to Lebanon, I’ve rounded up four obscure wine regions that are taking the world by storm. Whether you’ve jumped on the new-world bandwagon or are looking to change it up from the classics, consider buying from any of these unique and delicious regions on your next trip to the bottle shop! You won’t be disappointed:
Just off the coast of Morocco, the Canary Islands have been known to produce some of the best biodynamic, organic and natural wines in the world, due to its volcanic soil. The largest region for wine production is Teneriffe, which has been making wine since the 15th century when the island was colonized by Spain. Listan Blanco and Listan Negro are the two most important and widely planted grape varieties in the Canaries, and as a result, white wines tend to be light, high in acidity and crisp…while reds are generally light, fruity and fresh.
Georgia – the country located at the intersection of Europe and Asia – has been a part of the wine making world for more than 8,000 years. The country has a unique way of making wine in the traditional way, where wine is fermented and aged in a “Kyeuri” – otherwise known as a clay egg.
There are over 450 native grape varieties planted in Georgia – Rkatsiteli being the most planted white grape and Saperavi the most planted red. With such a vast variety of grapes, Georgia makes a wide selection of wines, from fresh crisp whites to reds with a little bit of sweetness and natural skin contact (or orange) wine. The wines of Georgia can rarely be found in the Canadian market, but if they are, they are usually dry and fresh whites.
While growing in popularity, wine making in Lebanon dates back more than 7,000 years! The best wines in the country come from Bekaa, due to its inland geography and high elevation that moderates outdoor temperatures.
Lebanon is best known for its red wine with the most common grape varieties being cabernet sauvignon, cnisault, merlot, syrah, cabernet franc and petit verdot. It’s no surprise that Bordeaux blends are the most common style you’ll see from the region. My favourite producer? Chateau Musar – a family-run winery created in 1930 in the cellar of a 17th century castle.
New York State
As the third largest grape growing area in the U.S., New York State is home to more than 400 wineries known for producing a variety of wines. The most notable regions within New York State are Finger Lakes (riesling, anyone?), Long Island for cabernet sauvignon and merlot, Lake Erie, Hudson Valley and the Niagara Escarpment. As Ontario’s neighbour to the south, you don’t have to travel far for a taste of inventive viticulture.