Unique wine regions to visit
Let’s face it; nothing truly compares to a unique tasting experience in the mesmerizing countryside. You’ll find that the wine industry has now spread to just about every continent – each bringing its own varieties, laws, styles and set of flavors. Regions like Bordeaux, Champagne, Tuscany and Napa are making waves for the wine and tasting experiences they offer.
But what about those hidden treasures that no one really talks about? What about the smaller wine regions that offer something different, but tend to fly under the radar? Shall we visit them?
Stellenbosch, South Africa
South Africa is a world leader in producing quality wines and offering some of the most scenic and memorable tasting experiences. With over 600 wineries spread out throughout their wine-producing region, you’ll constantly be a stone-throw away from the next charming winery. Stellenbosch, especially, serves as the heart of the country’s wine region. Here, you will find powerful and robust expressions of Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Chardonnay and even Sauvignon Blanc. With such a rich history and culture of wine production, you’ll constantly find innovative wine-tasting and culinary experiences.
Even with the wine regions that surround Stellenbosch, like the Franschoek wine region, Swartland wine region and Constantia Winelands, a new and exquisite tasting always awaits you.
Although the region of Sicily technically falls under the country of Italy, the region and the people are so vastly different from the rest of Italy, one would never imagine it is the same country. Sicily was once tainted with a reputation for only being good for bulk wines. They have, however, really come into their own and slowly started re-establishing their reputation as one of quality. Although the region only has a handful of wineries to visit for tastings, the experience these tasting rooms offer is unlike any other. The white wines here have flavors and aromas that you would never expect to find in a wine – and never will find outside of Sicily!
Since their wines are so unique with such distinct characteristics and aromas, (thanks to the soil and climate) you get to see a side of Italy that is a rare treat. The locals of Sicily consider themselves Sicilians before Italians and offer a different side of Italy that few truly bother exploring.
Yes, Beaujolais is a type of wine. Yes, Beaujolais is also a region. The famous (and infamous) Beaujolais wines are named after the region they are produced in – which is no other than the Beaujolais region in France! For many avid wine lovers, Beaujolais represents the rebellious region of winemaking. Unlike its neighbouring region, the Southern Rhone Valley where several grape varieties are used, Beaujolais truly only focuses on a single variety; Gamay Noir. Gamay Noir is the heart of what makes Beaujolais wines so unique and exclusive. The tasting experience in Beaujolais is not only one-of-a-kind because of the distinct and rebellious wine, but because of the family-run wineries all over the region. What you will find in Beaujolais, and in much of France, is that most of the wineries are family-owned and run. Generations of history are stored behind the walls of the winery, and no one shares the winery’s history and story the way a family member can. These tastings offer the best in-depth look at everything the wineries and the region were built on and offer an unparalleled history lesson.
The rugged, but enchanting landscape of Mendoza makes it one of the most captivating wine regions around. The vineyards of Mendoza are situated high into the mountains to create the best growing conditions for them. These vineyards are the highest in the world, reaching almost 4000feet above sea-level. This not only produces diverse styles and quality of the wine, but also means an unforgettable tasting experience. The very best experiences come in the form of their hop-on-hop-off busses, which take you to the very best wineries available. With friendly locals, life-changing wine and views that will stick with you forever, Mendoza should be at the top of your wine-destinations list. Side note: The Argentinian Malbec and Tempranillo are known to be absolutely exquisite – so do try those first!
Paso Robles, California
Napa Valley is an incredible and diverse region to visit for any tasting experience in the US. However, the region of Paso Robles, just south of Napa Valley, offers an interesting and less-touristy perspective of the wines the USA. Paso Robles is no small-fry region and has over 200 different wineries to choose from. This makes the tasting experience vast and lengthy – which is everything we love about wine tastings. Unlike many of the commercial wineries that can be found in the USA, Paso Robles often offers many family-owned wineries, that offer great insight into the story behind the story. It is a beautiful region to explore, especially during May when they have their annual wine festival. It is a festive region that breaks away from the typical tasting experiences.
Probably one of the least-known regions in the world is the small, remote region of Savoie. Nestled on the border of France and Switzerland, Savoie offers another unique perspective on French wine. Here white wine is the focal point. With the cooling effect from the Alps, most red varieties battle to ripen successfully. White varieties, however, thrive and produce fragrant and refreshing expressions of the most unique varieties. Considering how isolated the region is, you will find the few tasting experiences to be extremely intimate, in-depth and highly educational. For the short time that you do visit the region, the locals will ensure it is a welcoming, entertaining and wine-packed visit. Outside of the region, you will rarely have access to the wines as the production is so limited. So, everything about this exclusive wine region draws you in.
Although these wine regions don’t fall under your typical list of regions to explore, they do offer some of the world’s greatest wine experiences. If you truly need a tasting experience that will stick, try some of these hidden treasures and tick them off your bucket list!
Wine tasting is not drinking, and it’s certainly not an excuse for a boozy night out. Wine is made to be enjoyed, tasted, and appreciated; this is the heart of wine tasting.