With more than 9,000 wineries in the U.S., you’d think every state would be represented on wine lists in every restaurant and bar across the country. But, as we all know, that’s not quite true yet, but it’s getting better by the day—and this list will help you find some of the best wines coming out of regions that aren’t quite household names yet but should be soon. From New York to California and everywhere in between, here are 10 Wine Regions You’ve Gotta Discover Right Now…
Languedoc-Roussillon is one of the largest wine regions in France, and its wines are typically bright, acidic, and sometimes tannic. The main red grapes grown here are Carignan, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Syrah with Chenin Blanc and Merlot also popular. Riesling dominates white wines in this region as well as Marsanne, Grenache Blanc, and Picpoul Noir.
2) North Rhone
The northernmost wine region in France, the North Rhone has a focus on red wines such as Côtes du Rhône and Syrah, but rosé is also popular with the locals. The region’s growing season is relatively short for France, which creates some of the most intense and concentrated wines in the world. If you want to learn more about wine in general, be sure to visit Jura or Languedoc-Roussillon.
Love a glass of wine after a long day at work? Provence is the place for you. This region in the South of France is home to over 200,000 hectares of vineyards and well-known producers like Mas d’Isson, Jean-Baptiste Berthoumieu, and Chateau de Beaucastel. The landscape here ranges from small hills to limestone plateaus. Not only does it produce delicious grapes but olives as well!
This region is the birthplace of Chianti, Brunello, and Vino Nobile. Winemakers here grow Sangiovese, Syrah, Trebbiano, and other grapes in addition to grape varieties of international importance like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Sangiovese. Some famous producers include Sassicaia, Ornellaia, Tenuta dell’Ornellaia and Isole e Olena.
If you’re looking for a region that’s off the beaten path, Sardinia is a great choice. This island in Italy boasts incredible vineyards and strong wine culture. There are more than 4000 hectares of vines planted on the steep slopes around Cagliari and Sassari, producing an array of wines including Cannonau, Vernaccia di Oristano, Chardonnay, Vermentino di Gallura and the recent incarnation of Friulano.
One of the 10 wine regions in the world, Sicily was given official recognition as a wine region in 1996 by the Italian Ministry of Agriculture. Though wines have been made there for centuries, Sicilian wines weren’t specifically labeled as such until 1992 when DOC regulations were revised to establish a set of standards for wine producers to meet.
We don’t say ‘buy Italian’ but we say ‘buy Sicilian.’
Located in southwestern France, the Bordeaux region is one of the most important wine-producing regions in the world. It was even the first place in France to produce sparkling wine. The majority of wines produced in this region are still red and include famous varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc. In 2000, 16% of all red wines consumed in the world were from this region. Be on the lookout for wines with a vintage date on them!
Champagne’s vineyards are mostly found on the region’s perimeter, often far from one another in regards to both geography and altitude. There is a broad range of soil types, from gravel on the lowland Champagne plain to heavy clay near Épernay, chalk near Troyes, and limestone at Châlons-en-Champagne.
From Bourgogne to Beaujolais, there are many delightful wine regions to explore in France. One of the best and most famed is Red Burgundy. The general region encompasses many well-known wine-producing villages including Côte-d’Or (Beaujolais), Chablis, Macon, Mâconnais, Nivernais, and Sancerre.
California produces a variety of wine types, from red blends to whites and sparkling wines. California’s Central Coast (centered on Santa Barbara) is the perfect starting point for those looking to explore the region. Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are particular favorites in this region.