5 Underrated Wine regions to discover
The world of wine is wide and varied. Talented producers make wine in over seventy countries in every corner of the earth. Making wine one of the most complex beverages on the planet.
Of course, wine powerhouses, including France, Spain and Italy, dominate the market, followed by California and South Australia. Still, many hidden gems are waiting to be explored. Underrated wine regions are not only exciting to discover, but they also offer terrific value. These wine regions are for you, whether you’re a casual wine lover or a seasoned connoisseur.
1. Algarve, Portugal
The Algarve is the southernmost region in Portugal, and it’s one of the sunniest holiday destinations in Europe. Thousands of local and international tourists visit the area for its beaches and warm weather, but the wine and food are worth visiting alone.
Quinta dos Vales is one of the best-known independent wine producers in the area. The estate offers a wide range of wine experiences and world-class amenities, making visiting Algarve a genuinely relaxing adventure. Expect fantastic wine made with local grapes. Red, pink or white, Algarve has become a source of exciting wine at all price points.
2. Casa Blanca, Chile
Wine producers in Chile have conquered the world with high-quality, affordable wine. Red wines made with Cabernet, Merlot and Carmenere show promise, but the most interesting Chilean wines are not red but white.
Casa Blanca is a small, coastal wine region overlooking the Pacific Ocean a few hours from Santiago. This cold-climate region is ideal for growing tart white grapes, including Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling. For reds, Pinot Noir performs better under the chilly conditions. Casa Blanca is gaining recognition fast for its elegant wines, but it’s still underrated compared to more popular valleys in Central Chile.
3. Rueda, Spain
Rueda is a small wine region in Castilla y Leon, Spain. The area has tough competition, as it neighbours Ribera del Duero, the source of some of the most acclaimed wines in the world.
Still, producers in Rueda don’t care about making rustic red wines with Tempranillo; they focus on making crisp white wines with a local varietal, Verdejo.
Rueda wines are medium-bodied and refreshing. Producers can and sometimes do blend Verdejo with Sauvignon Blanc, with which the local grape shares similarities. The Spanish wine region is slowly gaining recognition for its affordable white wine, that’s also compatible with a wide range of food.
4. Paso Robles, California
Paso Robles is no small region. In fact, this is one of the largest viticultural areas in California. However, Paso Robles still lives under the shadow of more prestigious areas, including the Napa and Sonoma Valleys.
Paso Robles is definitely underrated, as it’s California’s answer to the arid Rhône Valley in France. Syrah, Grenache and other warm-climate varietals produce world-class wines with a rustic charm and appealing alcoholic warmth. Wine lovers should take a closer look at the leading estates in Paso Robles, and the secret is out. The region is now a source of collectable wine.
5. Sardinia, Italy
Sardinia is one of the largest islands in the Mediterranean, although it’s still smaller than the other major Italian city, Sicily. Sardinia has the ideal weather for growing wine grapes, and it has tradition, too — centuries of vinous history have shaped the island’s wine styles.
Sardinia is better known for its red wines made with Grenache and its sea-scented white wines made with Vermentino. Most of the wine produced on the island is dry and food-friendly, but a few sweet specialities are worth seeking. If you enjoy well-priced wine, Sardinia is an underrated wine region to explore.
Don’t Just Taste Wine, Live it
There’s no doubt many wine regions worldwide deserve more recognition. That’s the most exciting thing about wine; it never ceases to amaze. And although reading about wine regions is inspiring, there’s nothing like living them.
Visit Quinta dos Vales in the Algarve and experience the wine country while treating yourself to five-star amenities. Make your own wine, be part of wine dinners or simply enjoy the estate and its many activities. Algarve might be underrated, but that’s still good for those who already know its secrets.