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LIVE 24-SEVEN NEW WORLD WINES EMERGING FROM UNEXPECTED REGIONS…


I’m going to be horribly predictable here and insert a comment about how quickly this year has raced by and that autumn is almost here…after all, it’s expected and usual that autumn should follow summer… It’s a poor segue by any standards, but I have no shame and shall therefore turn about-face and talk about the unexpected in wines emerging from unexpected regions…


Much-loved and trusted wine regions such as Bordeaux, Tuscany and the Napa Valley can often steal the spotlight when it comes to defining world-class grape growing and fine wine production, but hold your cotton picking horses there and think of wine the way you would food…If you are willing to try a new recipe or cuisine, why would you not experiment with wine and regions in the same way?


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TENERIFE, CANARY ISLANDS Set off the coast of north-western Africa, Tenerife grape varieties are more interesting because most vineyards sit on pure volcanic soils, which are very mineral-heavy. The climate can range from warm to extremely hot, however throughout the island there are unique wind tunnels that can bring salt water and acidity to the grapes and it is this hyper-local combination of indigenous vines, volcanic soil and varying climates that make for the Canary Islands’ unusual wines. One of the most sought after producers at the moment is Envínate. Beyond Tenerife, Los Bermejos is a Lanzarote estate that follows a biodynamic philosophy focused on organic farming and distinct vine-growing principles.


KAKHETI, GEORGIA Georgia has reasserted itself as a prime winemaking producer and destination, with some amazing natural and low-intervention wines featuring entirely unique flavour profiles. The whites are typically made with skin contact, lending them tannic structure and texture, whilst the reds can be powerful, especially the Saperavi variety.


MCLAREN VALE, AUSTRALIA About 45 minutes south of Adelaide sits McLaren Vale, a coastal wine region with a Mediterranean climate known for dry red varietals such as Shiraz, Grenache and Cabernet Sauvignon. McLaren Vale may be lesser-known than the nearby Barossa Valley, but the Australian wine region is regarded as one of the country’s most environmentally conscious areas, with a large percentage of producers using sustainable irrigation and farming methods, in addition to being hand-harvested, preservative-free and using only indigenous yeast.


NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE, ONTARIO Niagara-on-the-Lake sits on the shores of Lake Ontario at the mouth of the Niagara River; the region’s many differing elevations and variations in soil type, temperature and rainfall enable a huge diversity of “terroir” wines to be produced at local wineries, spanning from light Riesling to powerful Cabernet Franc. Producers such as Pearl Morrissette and Norman Hardie claim some of the best Burgundian-style wines in the New World.


While we are at it, so to speak, I would like to give a special shout out for all wines American! We very often tend to rely on the known entities such as Napa Valley and Sonoma County, however as American viticulture becomes increasingly sophisticated, lesser-known regions have grown increasingly interesting.


VERDE VALLEY, ARIZONA The elevation and arid climate of Arizona’s Verde Valley are surprisingly grape-friendly. Thanks to some Pacific cold fronts and late summer monsoons, just enough rain falls throughout the region each year, providing the right amount of irrigation for grapes to grow. It’s not an official A.V.A. (yet), but Cabernet Franc and Zinfandel do particularly well here.


MONTICELLO, VIRGINIA President Thomas Jefferson planted some vines here in 1808 and wrote to a friend: “We could in the United States make as great a variety of wines as are made in Europe, not exactly of the same kinds, but doubtless as good.” Monticello now produces award-winning Viognier, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and


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WINING & DINING WINE EXPER T


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