Sommelier Adam Sweders has provided some insight to his predictions of which regions are about to take off along with his personal favorite suggestions. If you’re interested in booking a trip to any of these wine regions, take a look at current flight deals as they arise and also check out some of the best deals on hotels in each location.
Exciting Wine Regions to Keep an Eye On, Visit and Taste
Anderson Valley, California
If you love Pinot Noir as much as I do you know the areas, such as the Russian River, Willamette Valley, and France’s famed Burgundy, the price tags for these wines can run as high as a car payment.
Savvy Sommeliers will reach for an area where the quality of the wine doesn’t come with the price of a Mini Cooper. Anderson Valley, located to the north part of Napa/Sonoma is an often forgotten area for high-quality production of Pinot Noir. Drinking in similar styles to Oregon and the Sonoma Coast, this moderate-tempered climate is a perfect growing region for Pinot.
Adam Sweders suggestion: Littorai “Les Larmes” is a personal favorite that can hold its own against competition exceeding well over $100 per bottle. Tremendous balance between fresh fruit and earth, along with great acidity makes this wine appropriate for practically any occasion. Watch for other famous producers to start making labels from this booming area.
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Mt. Etna, Sicily
Ever think you’d be drinking wine along the foothills of an active volcano from the region that brought us “The Godfather?” Me neither, until recently. For wine connoisseurs, I’m talking about a little grape called Nerello Mascalese, also known as Etna Rosso. For everyone else, I’m talking about another great substitute for Pinot Noir.
This light-bodied wine is absolutely stunning when considering its price point. Sicily is a very warm climate, so fresh fruit really shines in these wines. However, when your vines are drinking water off of volcanic ash all of a sudden a very complex and serious wine evolves.
Adam Sweders suggestion: The winery Passopisciaro, named from the local town, is one of the best expressions of this indigenous, Sicilian grape. If you are a fan of California Pinot and are looking for something a bit more interesting, this wine will surely deliver at just $30. The vineyards are located on a volcano that continues to erupt. So grab some of these wines before the inevitable happens…
Rias Baixas, Spain
One of the most interesting wine regions I’ve ever visited, Rias Baixas in northwestern Spain, is a sight to see. Coastal, foggy, and at times rainforest-esque, this area is quite unique to most regions that grow wine. The locals are obsessed with seafood, especially the briny types such as oysters, razor clams, and barnacles. As common sense would have it, they started to grow grapes that would drink well with their food, which leads us to the up-and-coming Albarino.
Known for its fabulous minerality and acid, Albarino does extremely well with seafood. Some of these wines even have mild hints of salinity from the nearby Atlantic Ocean, making them pair even better with local seafood. Not to mention, most are dirt-cheap.
Adam Sweders suggestion: Lagar de Condesa from Gil Family Estates is a personal favorite this area. For less than $20, you can drink a 90+ point rated wine and confuse it with high-quality French and United States produced wines. Get some now because the more popular it gets, the more it’ll cost.
RELATED: Check Out Our Wine Lover’s Guide to Visiting Basque Country Spain
If you know your wine you probably think I’m going to say Amarone. Close, but wrong. I’m talking about the basic production of a grape called Corvina. For the Pinot drinkers (hopefully now Etna Rosso drinkers) this is a comparably inexpensive option.
Planted on the snowcapped foothills of the Swiss Alps this cool region is a perfect spot for the thin-skinned grape, Corvina. Oregon Pinot lovers can find a spot in their heart here for, at times, three to four euros a glass.
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Adam Sweders suggestion: A label highly recommended is the “Secco” label from Bertani. With tremendous concentration and acidity it can be mistaken as a high-end Oregon/Burgundian wine. Often on the label it just says “Valpolicella,” which is what you should look for when picking out the wine.
I didn’t want to forget the big, bold, cabernet wine lovers so I found a special spot in central Spain. Tinto de Toro, more commonly known as Tempranillo from Toro, is one of the hottest regions in Spain where grapes grow. Equal to the extreme conditions, you can expect an extreme wine. These wines and the region are wonderful to explore if you love Napa Cabernet blends. These wines from Toro have big fruit flavor, big tannins, high alcohol, 100 plus-year-old vines.
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Adam Sweders’ suggestion: One of my favorite producers in Toro is Numanthia. They make three different labels ranging in price point from very affordable to quite expensive. The one to try is the Numanthia, Numanthia. For around $50 you might be thinking you’re drinking a quality wine similar to $100 to $200 producers from Napa. So grab a bottle from Toro and impress your friends at your next dinner party!
Have you been to Bulgaria and explored the wine regions there? There are many hidden gems there that offer beautiful wines
Congratulations on comprehensive, and well-researched articles. These are valuable tools for any wine traveler – as good as any that I can think of. Keep up the good work! Micahel Adams