Santorini, greece

Europe’s up and coming wine regions

The Old World is home to some of the most storied wine regions in the world. If you’re a wine aficionado, it’s likely that you already have bottles from regions like Bordeaux, Burgundy, Rioja, and Piedmont in your collection. But Europe is home to a dazzling number of up and coming wine regions full of talented producers wine lovers should get to know. Perhaps the most exciting thing is the potential for a new investment opportunity for savvy collectors.

Gigondas, France

Anyone who appreciates the power and finesse of the wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape needs to become acquainted with Gigondas. While both red and rose are made here, it’s the reds that have captured wine lovers’ attention. Based on Grenache with a dash of Syrah and Mourvedre, the red wines of Gigondas are amongst the Rhone’s brightest stars. The quality in this region is superb and offers outstanding value for money. Don’t sleep on Gigondas – with the exceptional wines being made here, don’t expect to be able to snap them up at such fantastic prices for long.

Try wines from producers like Domaine La Boussiere, Chateau de Saint Cosme, and Domaine de Bosquets.

Bierzo, Spain 

For bold, rich reds, head to sunny Spain and the outstanding region of Bierzo. Located in Castilla y Leon, Bierzo’s claim to fame is its red based on the local Mencia grape. White wines here are based on Godello, which produces vibrant, fresh wines worth picking up as well. The wines have a stellar mineral character and both red and whites wines offer a deliciously refreshing character compared to wines found in other parts of the country. These two local grapes also yield wines that are capable of ageing beautifully.

Buy wines by Descendientes de J. Palacios, Raul Perez, and Castro Ventosa.

Bierzo, Spain

Franciacorta, Italy

If you’re a sparkling wine lover, chances are you’ll have sampled your fair share of Franciacorta. Italy’s answer to Champagne is a hub of superlative traditional method sparkling wine, and the quality is only getting better. The assemblage is slightly different than that found in its more famous French cousin, with producers using Chardonnay, Pinot Nero (Pinot Noir), and Pinot Bianco, in lieu of Pinot Meunier. While Pinot Bianco (Pinot Blanc) is allowed in Champagne, it’s not often used. When coupled with Franciacorta’s unique terroir, it makes for truly phenomenal wines.

Look for wines made by Ca’ del Bosco, Bellavista, and Monte Rossa.

Douro Valley, Portugal 

While Port connoisseurs will know of the Douro Valley, this Portuguese region has also begun to make a name for itself thanks to the exceptional dry red wines produced here. These intense tinto wines are made from the same grapes that go into Port and produce long-lived, bold, spicy wines that are without a doubt, the best dry reds Portugal has to offer. Some winemakers also craft crisp, mineral-driven white wines that are marvellous to sip when the mercury starts creeping up.

Look for wines by Casa Ferreirinha, Quinta dos Castelares, and Quinta do Couquinho.

Douro Valley, Portugal

Coastal Croatia

While it’s a nation that boasts thousands of years’ worth of viticulture, it’s only relatively recently that Croatia is seeing some of the recognition it deserves. Most of Croatia’s fine wine comes from the coastal regions, where the mild Mediterranean climate helps give rise to stunning wines. From Istria down to the Dalmatian Coast, you’ll discover a variety of different microclimates suitable for high-quality winemaking. What’s particularly exciting about Croatian wine is the emphasis on local varieties like Plavac Mali, a red grape descendent from the ever-popular Zinfandel, also native to the region. Lots of rich, concentrated wines with wonderful complexity to be found here.

Watch for Frano Milos Winery and Bibich.

Naoussa, Greece

Without a doubt, Naoussa is home to some of Greece’s finest red wines. The local Xinomavro grape is often compared to Piedmont’s famed Nebbiolo. Thanks to its high tannins and acidity, wines based on Xinomavro can ages for decades, making them excellent additions to any collector’s cellar. If you’re a Cabernet drinker look to try something new, the wines of Naoussa are sure to please your palate.

Try wines from Dalamara Winery, Thymiopoulos Vineyards, and Boutari.

Santorini, Greece

Staying in Greece but looking further south to the islands we come across Santorini, home of the stunning Assyrtiko grape. These brilliant white wines are full of vibrant citrus notes and lovely minerality, thanks to the combination of volcanic soils and Mediterranean climate. While not all examples are built to age, there are definitely some producers who make age-worthy Assyrtiko. Some winemakers opt to age their Assyrtiko in oak or age on the lees, giving an extra dimension of flavour to the wines. For those who enjoy Sauvignon Blanc or Grüner Veltliner, Assyrtiko is a wine for you.

Buy wines made by Domaine Sigalas, Porto Carras, and Estate Argyros.


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