Travel Picks: Top 10 up-and-coming wine regions

Fri Nov 18, 2011 7:08am EST
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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Beaujolais Nouveau has launched the 2011 French vintage, but if you're interested in looking beyond the Bordeaux, Burgundy and Rhone classics for emerging wine experiences from all corners of the planet, then you're in luck. Men's magazine ( has come up with a top 10 list for up-and-coming wine regions. Reuters has not endorsed this list:

1. Austria

The main mistake most consumers make is to assume that Austria is like Germany in its wine culture -- and this couldn't be further from the truth. Of course, both countries excel at Riesling, but stylistically, they are typically on opposite sides of the spectrum.

For all of Germany's sweet bottlings, Austria finds its center of gravity with a typically dryer style. But it's the great white grape variety Gruner Veltliner that's made its reputation in recent years. The peppery, often stony character of these bracing whites has made them the darling of sommeliers and consumers for several years; they pair well with even the most difficult dishes. Also make sure to keep your eyes open for the great reds from Austria, including some serious Blaufrankisch, gloriously spicy Zweigelt and delicious St. Laurent.

2. South And South West France

Mention French wine, and thoughts of expensive bottles from Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne are typically conjured. Fans of France, however, know that the old paradigm has been shifting for some time. In the classic, more famous regions, affordable bottlings from exciting producers have become the norm. Burgundy is still on the expensive side, but there are some fantastic wines from Bordeaux and Champagne that will blow your taste buds away without emptying your bank account. However, South and South West France are where it's at right now in terms of value. The range of styles is tremendous. Depending on where your focus is, there are some spectacular wine options: the not-famous-enough Banyuls; the dense, perfumed dry reds crafted from Grenache, Cabernet, Malbec, and more; some unexpectedly expressive whites, especially those from native grape varieties like Petit Manseng and Mauzac; and springtime-perfect rosé. All of these wines call this part of France home and offer some of the best deals around.

3. Argentina

It's difficult to overstate the rise that Malbec has seen in the past decade or so. What once was a native French grape variety that did well on its own primarily in the appellation of Cahors is the star of the show in Argentina. From the lighter, more red-fruited bottlings of San Juan to the denser, more concentrated expressions of the grape in higher altitude vineyards in Mendoza, this is the red that made Argentina a household name all over the world. A visit in October, however, demonstrated how much more this country in the shadow of the Andes has to offer. From wonderful Tempranillos and Bonardas from Mendoza to the fabulous sparklers of Patagonia and the great aromatic Torrontes bottlings from the north of the country, Argentina has all the potential in the world. Keep an eye on it, and make sure to take advantage of the remarkably fair prices for such delicious wines.

4. Chile   Continued...