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The New Wine Regions To Watch

Where is the new hot wine going to come from? What will be the next Napa? The next Barossa Valley? Everyone has their speculations, public and private, big and small. Jancis Robinson has recently made hers:

Waitaki, New Zealand
Vale do São Francisco, Brazil
Limari­, Chile
Santa Rita Hills, California
Queensland, Australia
The Upper Agly Valley, Southern France
Philadelphia, South Africa

This is a great list. Mostly because I haven't heard of most of them. Who knew, for instance, that there was a serious wine region in Brazil?

The Wine Spectator's recent issue highlighted another region that I've had my eye on for some time: The Minervois. Part of the larger region of the Languedoc-Roussillon (to which the Upper Agly Valley belongs), this small area makes great wines of Syrah, Grenache, Carignan, and several other less well known varietals.

My friend Lenn over at Lenndeavors would certainly never speak to me again if I didn't include Long Island as an up-and coming region.

I think we have a lot more to hear from certain areas of Washington State, in particular the Red Mountain appellation.

Finally, I think Greek wines are going to undergo a bit of a renaissance as they ditch the retsina, capitalize on their old vines, and start marketing globally.

Up-and-coming is, of course, completely subjective. There's always going to be someone who insists that any region is already mainstream, or will never be.

What would you add to the list?

Comments (13)

taj wrote:
07.31.05 at 5:32 PM

Perhaps Mendoza is already "so last week" for some, but every time I try a Malbec or Torrontes I think is the best I've ever had, I try another one that's even more lovely.

What about Tierra De La Castilla?

07.31.05 at 6:26 PM

I would vote for the Amador/El Dorado County area. Great CalItalia varietals, but still inexpensive prices, and not a lot of distribution (despite doing well at the Fort Mason fine tastings)

Ryan wrote:
08.01.05 at 8:47 AM

It is not clear what the 'next hot region' really means but if it speaks of quality and potential, I would add Toro, Spain to the list. This historic area has seen huge interest from top Spanish winemakers along with considerable investment as of late (so maybe it's already a 'hot' region). Toro is producing excellent, powerful reds and certainly a Region to add to the list.

Lenn wrote:
08.01.05 at 9:00 AM

I don't know that I'd go THAT far, Alder...but I sure would have given you a hard time about it.

I too liked this list...and I never expect to see LI on one of them, regardless of my own feelings on the subject.

The Brazillian inclusion caught my eye as well...and I know I've never seen a Brazillian bottling in any of the stores I frequent. I think some research (and ordering) might be in...well order.

The Blooog wrote:
08.01.05 at 10:18 AM

The Zins and Barberas out of Amador/El Dorado County are incredible.

I'm also a proponent of Anderson Valley Pinot Noir. Some say inconsistent. I've never had anything that wasn't at least "very good" from this region, not to mention some incredible bottles.

HugeJ wrote:
08.01.05 at 10:37 AM

"I think we have a lot more to hear from certain areas of Washington State, in particular the Red Hills appellation."

I think you mean Red Mountain, Alder. Some great wines made there, they tend to have the structure/backbone that many Washington Bx wines lack. Very ageworthy too, although the appellation is too new to have enough time for that except with a few producers.

Alder wrote:
08.01.05 at 10:43 AM

Er, yes. Red Mountain. Thanks. I changed it.

Alder wrote:
08.01.05 at 11:14 AM


Thanks for the addition. My inclination is to say that Toro is already hot, but I can't disagree with your assessment about the wines in any way. They're great.

Alder wrote:
08.01.05 at 11:32 AM


Thanks for the addition. While I wouldn't put Mendoza in the "has been" category, it certainly has gotten a fair amount of press already. I'm not really a big Malbec fan, despite some attempts to get to know it well (a recent tasting at my house of 7 or 8 resulting in mostly low scores). Don't know the Tierra De La Castilla. Care to elaborate ?

taj wrote:
08.01.05 at 3:22 PM

VT de la Castilla is one of a bunch of not-yet-DO regions in Spain from which a lot of cool wine under ten bucks has flowed. Nothing phenomenal, mind you, but bottles like the Luan Bodegas 'Equis' cuvee, Osbourne 'Solaz' and the Mederano Tinto offer great, earthy, Old World style table wines that move me more than many wines twice their price. Just thought I'd toss 'em in for keeping it real...and inexpensive.

Mark Rodriguez wrote:
08.03.05 at 3:01 PM

How about Mexico's Baja wine country, wines like Casa de Piedra, Adobe Guadalupe and Mariatinto. Complex and elegant wines. Soon they will be more widely available in the US

Alder wrote:
08.03.05 at 3:05 PM


Actually another one of my readers has pinged me a couple of times about the Baja wine region. Thanks for the additions.

Maud letzler wrote:
09.17.05 at 4:18 AM

From SA and not sure I would go for Philidelphia which is a 'township area' unless there are some upliftment plans but Elim has to be one of the latest and most prime spots, 30km inland from the Southern most point of Cape Agulhas. Fabulous nose on all the whites and long elegant reds. Try the Berrio S/Blanc and Cab

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