Undiscovered wine regions
When you think about the world’s best wine regions
some obvious names come to mind, such as Alsace-Lorraine, the Loire
Valley and Tuscany. And there’s no doubt about the quality of the
elixirs from these wine regions, but to continually seek out these
regions does no justice to some of the lesser-known wine producers
out there. Did you know, for example, that Romania is one of the largest wine-producing regions in the world?
There’s more to wine than what the best have to offer, and it’s worth
the time investment to consider the five lesser-known gems listed here.
They might elude you during a casual wine run, but they’re well worth
the extra effort. 1- Romania Wine region:
You might not have known it, but in 2005 Romania was the 12th-largest
wine-producer by volume and the Murfatlar region, located on the Black
Sea, is the country’s finest.
Wine-making in Romania, as is
the case in many Eastern European countries, dates back centuries.
Quite a number of local grape varieties, such as Zghihara de Husi,
Cramposia de Dragasani and Galbena de Odobesti, dominated Romania’s
wine region until the 18th century, when they were replaced by more
common Western European grapes. Today, these Western grapes form the
backbone of Romania’s wine production.
One of Romania’s chief
advantages in wine production is its climate, which is perfect for
growing grapes: It’s fairly mild, with good sun exposure
, rainfall and excellent soil. Best varietals:
If you’re on the lookout for Romanian wines from the Murfatlar wine
region, seek out Murfatlar Vineyard's Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon,
Riesling, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay. All are excellent.
Romania’s Transylvania wine region is also a major wine exporter. For
obvious reasons, sales of these wines -- especially the Vampire
Vineyards stock -- tend to soar in October. The winery’s wines came to
be appreciated as more serious bottles in Europe and North America
after 1995. Be on the lookout for the Vampire Pinot Grigio, Merlot,
Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay. 2- Israel Wine region:
Despite the relatively small volume of wine that Israel produces
annually (it was the 52nd-largest wine-producing country in 2005), it
produces some very good wines.
The Galilee area, located in
the North District of Israel, is Israel’s best wine-producing region,
characterized by high altitudes, cool breezes and very good,
Galilee’s main wine-producing subregion and
main wine producer is the Golan Heights Winery, which has become the
benchmark for Israel’s wine industry. Golan is the only winery in the
world to have won the Grand Prix d’Honneur at Vinexpo for three years
in a row, and it is credited with having revolutionized the Israeli
wine-making industry through the introduction of modern techniques and
equipment. Best varietals:
Golan Heights Winery features three top labels: Yarden, Gamla and Golan.
The Yarden Cabernet Sauvignon 2001 comes especially highly recommended.
It’s full-bodied, and has a good balance of tannins and fruits with
notes of plum, wild berry and currant. 3- Cyprus Wine region:
isn’t among the largest wine producers in the world (it ranked 37th in
wine production by volume in 2005), but wine from the Commandaria
region has been considered to be among the world’s best since the 12th
During his crusades, King Richard the Lionheart of
England was said to have tasted the Commandaria wine and called it “the
wine of kings and the King of wines.”
In fact, production of this
Cypriot wine is said to date back to the time of the ancient Greeks and
its ancestor wines can be traced back to 800 B.C. It is the world’s
oldest-named wine still in production today.