5 Best Up-And-Coming Wine Regions According to Sommelier Adam Sweders
Adam Sweders has provided some insight to his predictions of which regions are about to take off along with his personal favorite suggestions.
Exciting Wine Regions to Keep an Eye On, Visit and Sample
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, but the price tags for these wines can run as high as a car payment. Savvy Somms will reach to 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 of a high-quality production of Pinot Noir. Drinking in similar styles to Oregon and 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.
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 either, until recently. For the 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 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 looking for something a bit more interesting, this wine will surely deliver at just $30. The vineyards are located on a volcano that actually erupted just last year and does so frequently. So grab some of these wines before the inevitable happens…
Rias Biaxas, Spain
One of the coolest wine regions I’ve ever visited, Rias Biaxas 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. So 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, this wine does extremely well with seafood. Think as if Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Pinot Grigio had a baby and they called it Albarino. Some of these wines even have mild hints of salinity from the nearby Atlantic Ocean, pairing them even better with the local seafood. Not to mention, most are dirt-cheap.
Adam Sweders’ suggestion: Lagar de Condesa from Gil Family Estates is a personal favorite of mine from 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.
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 an obnoxiously 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.
Adam Sweders’ suggestion: A label highly recommended is the “Secco” label from Bertani. With tremendous concentration and acidity I would seriously blind taste it as a high-end Oregon/Burgundy 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 on the planet where grapes grow. Equal to its extreme conditions, you can expect an extreme wine. I love these wines and region because it’s such a wonderful place to explore if you love the Napa Cabernet and the blends like I do. Having a big fruit flavor, big tannin, high alcohol, 100 plus year old vines, it is like being punched in the face with wine but loving it.
Adam Sweders’ suggestion: One of my favorite producers in the region 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 among the $100 to $200 producers from Napa. So grab a bottle from Toro and impress your friends at your next dinner party!