4 Unexpected Countries that Offer Tasty Wines for You to Try
Like a well-used board game, the flags on the world’s wine map are usually set. The regular players, such as France, Italy, and Spain provide top-notch wine to their global consumers. New wine countries don’t just pop up on that well-established wine map. But what if they did?
Thanks to a variety of changing conditions, like new political landscapes and global warming, new wine regions are popping up all over the world. Here’s a compiled list of five up-and-comers that have the potential to offer your taste buds with something new and exciting.
The neighbour of Argentina and Chile—both among the top ten wine producing countries in the world—is currently the third-largest wine producer in South America. It’s a little unexpected since most of the country’s climate, which is too hot isn’t suitable for growing vines. Except for the cooler southern region of Rio Grande do Sul, where most of Brazil’s vineyards are located.
The Sierra Gaúcha region, which is in Rio Grande do Sul, accounts for 90% of Brazil’s wine production. This is due to its high elevation and cool climate. Brazil produces a range of grape varieties such as, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Syrah, and Gamay.
Many of Brazil’s 1,100 wineries have been producing bulk wine, but a recent movement has pushed the winemaking trend into improving quality rather than focus on quantity.
Thanks to climate change, countries with climates that were once too cold for growing grapes now have the potential to do so. An example of that would be England. It now has over 400 vineyards located at the southern part of the country.
Also, England is making a name for itself when it comes to high-quality sparkling wine. The climate of England’s southern regions is cool enough to accommodate the production of traditional-method sparklers made from grape varietals such as Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. In fact, two thirds of English wine is sparkling wine. An example would be Prosecco, which has been compared by many famous wine experts to Champagne.
Lebanon’s wine industry has recently started expanding, increasing their number of wineries to just under 40. This number has tripled since the end of the 20th century.
The inland Bekaa Valley—unlike most of Lebanon’s flat coastline— is located on top of a plateau which is about 3,800 feet above sea level. Thanks to nearby mountain slopes, there’s also a lot of water for use in winemaking.
Wine in Lebanon is mostly produced from French grapes like Syrah, Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Carignan. However, some wines make use of two local grapes: the Obeideh and the Merweh.
Lebanon’s wines are on the rise, especially since Lebanese wine has recently become a favourite of U.S.-based sommeliers.
The Baja California peninsula—responsible for 90% of Mexico’s wine production—has received a lot of attention recently. Within Baja California is the Valle de Guadalupe wine region, which has been labelled by wine experts and news outlets as the ‘next Napa.’
The region’s Mediterranean-like climate allows winemakers to grow quality Bordeaux and Rhône varieties. Fan favourites such as Chardonnay, Zinfandel, and Tempranillo.
Valle de Guadalupe has also become quite the tourist attraction, with many wineries opening tasting rooms and boutique hotels. ‘New World Wine’ enthusiasts may want to make this region part of their wine tasting journey.
There are a few more countries and wine regions out there that have come out of the woodwork. But for now, take the time to enjoy the four mentioned above, and don’t forget to enjoy the local cuisine as well.