Six Underrated Wine Destinations to Know About Before Your Friends

Six Underrated Wine Destinations to Know About Before Your Friends



Two
things help gain access to the heart of a country: food and
wine. Dipping noses into local grown grapes, chatting with
sun-weathered farmers and sampling perfectly paired charcuterie
boards alongside the season’s harvest gives an insightful overview
of what makes a nation tick. Sure,
Bordeaux
holds the corkscrew to the world’s finest crus, the
Cape Wineland’s fertile soil produces the sharpest Sauvignon Blanc
and Tuscan
vintners still crush the grapes between their toes. But those
wishing to follow a path less trodden should raise a glass to these
lesser-known wine destinations.


Greece

With their whitewashed villages, undulating cliffs and
jellyfish-blue seas, we can’t see our Greek Island love affair
fading any time soon. Santorini may be the poster child for the

Greek islands
but the pretty, rock-hewn towns you see plastered
across social media are crumbling under the pressure of tourism.
But boomerangs of Sauv-filled glasses are set to be their saviour
as locals turn their attention back to agriculture, preventing
valuable fields from being torn up to construct yet more hotels.
Crops are planted in volcanic soil meaning they are pretty immune
to pests and ensures they never suffer a bad harvest. The
mineral-rich soil also gives grapes a slightly sweeter taste; try
the red Mantilaria grape at Santo Wines. Pick up a bottle alongside
plump tomatoes, fava beans and extra virgin oil sold in the artisan
shop to enjoy at Perissa, the neighbouring black-sand beach.


Georgia

Proudly displaying their passion for vino on everything from tea
towels to fridge magnets, the qeyri clay pots that are used to
ferment wine underground are the national symbol of
Georgia
. Natural wines are a big thing here and the production
is largely a family affair. Combine a city break to on-trend

Tbilisi
with a trip to the neighbouring wine region of Kakheti.
Head to the quaint village of Signagi nestled at the foothill of
the Caucasus Mountains, fondly known as “the city of love” due to
the 24 hour a day wedding service that is available. Don’t be
fooled though, the rolling verdant green hills are more
Normandy
than Nevada.
For a souvenir to suit even the snobbiest of noses, a trip to 8000
Vintages in Tbilisi is in order. Blind tastings are organised for a
panel of experts to determine which wines are going to be stocked.
Put your taste buds to the test with your own miniature tasting
exploration.


Corsica

France

Why flock to Burgundy or Bordeaux when you can have an
island
fling with the cuvèes of Corsica?
Vineyards are scattered throughout its circumference, but the
majority are within easy reach from bustling Porto Vecchio. Be sure
to try red grapes Sciaccarellu and the salty whites from
Vermentino. Top of the itinerary should be Domaine de Torraccia,
which is sandwiched between the Med and the mountains and makes for
an easy day trip from Porto Vecchio. The vineyard was planted just
45 years ago by one of 3.
Corsica
‘s most famous modern farmers and is renowned for
creating aged Oriou wines. Fill a bottle direct from the vat from
as little as €5 a litre to slurp merrily at the seaside.


Morocco

Heavily scented souks, slow-cooked lamb tagine and the majestic
Atlas mountains
are some of the things eponymous with
4. Morocco
. While you’ll were more once more likely to sing
about their mint tea than their wines, that is fast changing.
Leaders of Moroccan wine producers Celliers de Meknès are at the
forefront of this new viticulture. Tucked away at the bottom of the
Atlas mountains, 2400 hectares of clay vineyards (ploughed by
camels) produce a promising selection of reds, including a
particularly good Syrah. With views across the mountain-backed
vineyards, expertly stocked wine cellar and rooms furnished with
antique Berber rugs, Château Roslane is ideally positioned to
stumble back to following a thorough tasting. Clear cloudy heads
the next morning in their exquisite Hamman spa.


Croatia

Straddling two culinary cultures (The Med and Central Europe)
ensures
Croatia
brings more to the table than just beautiful beaches. A
slight Italian influence has offered Istria the moniker “the new
Tuscany” in recent years, with their indigenous Malvazija Istarska
grape taking centre stage. The fruit white adopts a rich,
butternut-squash colour that comes from the extra-long maceration
of the grapes, where the skin soaks for anything from a week to a
year. If you’re heading to Istria‘s
pebbled coastline to gorge on their bountiful seafood offering then
opt for bottle(s) of the white, apple-blossom Degrasso Malvazija
Bomarchse. Visit family-run winery Cossetto which dates back three
generations, then drink your riches at Pissa Granda, an intimate
wine bar in the bustling port of Rovinj centre. Oenophiles will
want to travel to the northern town Momjan to take part in their
Feast of Saint Martin harvest celebrations. Before the ceremonial
uncorking, the wine is then baptised and poured freely for several
hours. Živjeli!


Southern California

United States

Napa Valley needn’t hog the
Californian
limelight any longer; head south and you’ll reach
the Temecula, where 40 wineries (with more joining them) have been
tickling the noses of wine enthusiasts for a few years now. These
areas bid goodbye to the stuffiness of siblings Napa and Sonoma and
have rolled up their Levi’s for Cali’s creatives. Just 90 minutes
south of Los Angeles, bundle up your crew (remember to call shotgun
for the front seat) and head off for a tipsy weekend. Here, you’ll
find homegrown vintages (unique to this part of California)
paired with farm-to-table
restaurants, while backyard airstreams reveal bubbling
microbreweries. Hop aboard a vintage tractor (budge up for the
resident farm dog/mascot) and trundle across the sun-soaked hills
before raising a glass to the country band throwing down at sunset
on stacks of hay.

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