Focus on wine: The most exciting wine regions of 2013

Sommeliers tell us why Sicily, Australia and New York State are producing wines that are getting their taste buds excited

While including popular wines such as a Pinot Grigio from Italy or a Merlot from France on your wine list is a sensible idea, there are times when you might just want to head out of your viticultural comfort zone and add something a little different.

To get some inspiration, we asked a few of the UK's top sommeliers and those responsible for choosing wines to share with us the wine regions they currently find the most exciting. 

AUSTRALIA

Clement Robert, head sommelier at Medlar, London

"Australia is coming back very strongly with its wines. The quality is the same, but now the wines are slightly fresher than previously. They used to produce heavy, jammy wines, but now producers are coming back with some thinner, lighter, more elegant styles of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Actually, the whole range is definitely better than in recent years and the quality high, which is why I am so excited about Australia's wines." 

CHILE & ARGENTINA

Gabriel Gonzalez, managing director Lima, London

"The whole world has had a massive leap in terms of quality in the last 40 years, highlighting wine regions and countries on the map, whose wines were previously considered nothing more than novelties to keep on a shelf. South America has been certainly a protagonist in such growth, playing a leading role in the modern wine business, suitable for any palates or pockets. Argentina, with their relatively masculine, well structured and more Old World-style wines, have captivated everyone’s palate with their bold expressions of Malbec, Cabernets and Chardonnays. On the other hand Chile keeps surprising us with its marvelously subtle and gentle, yet top quality wines spanning from medium to full bodied wines to surprisingly subtle and feminine ones"

ISRAEL

Gal Zohar, sommelier at Ottolenghi and Nopi 

"What is really exciting is that there is a new wave of winemakers who have travelled the world and are now back in Israel bringing Old World wine-making techniques to the process. Israel is a warm country so wines will always be fuller, riper and have more concentration of fruit, so winemakers are trying to work with the climate to their benefit. The pick the grapes earlier and age them in oak which is something they didn't do before. The results are really surprising and the wines are really enjoyable to drink with lots of new oak and lots of fruit - the acidity level is high and the alcohol level is low which makes for some really interesting wines."

LANGUEDOC ROUSSILLON

Mark Perlaki, chef sommelier, Hotel du Vin Harrogate

"To name one region that is truly exciting my palate, I'd have to say the Languedoc-Roussillon for their dry whites. This is a region that's totally upping its game. The quality of the reds is assured, so too in the quality to price ratio, while their whites I'm finding absolutely phenomenal. Using a broad array of grapes - the Rhône varieties, as well as Grenache Gris, Carignan Blanc, Macabeo and Petit Arvine - these are whites with tremendous breadth of fruit, herbs, texture and nuance, often with underlying earthy mineral tones. Listings and producers to look out for include the likes of Clos du Gravillas, Domaine Gayda, Le Conte de Floris, Jean-Philippe Padie, and Domaine Lafage."

NEW YORK STATE

Kathrine Larsen, head sommelier at Zuma, London

"For me, the Finger Lakes region in New York State is definitely the hottest. A combination of a fresh wine making approach to European classics and the expressive terroir of the region give the finger lakes a unique edge compared to other regions in the United States. The north east of the United States was the traditional home of American grape growing centuries ago with famous rootstocks for vines coming from the region. The re-utilisation of these vines and growing areas has become an exciting viticultural prospect for producers in the area and wines young, fresh, expressive wines have followed.  Specifically, the production of Cabernet Franc in this region pays homage to its Loire roots by showing fresh, fruit driven herbaceous fruits whilst displaying the minerality of the soils of the northern part of New York State. La Moreau stands out as an impressive producer with their cabernet Franc making a large impression on the international market for its rejuvenating take on a commonly overlooked grape variety in the European market."

SICILY

Jan Konetzki, head sommelier at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, London

"Sicily is producing some amazing wines, on that little dot there is a lot happening. They are wines on the edge of classic wine-making and slightly more funkier, maybe esoteric wines with great distinction. They are a combination of character and vibrancy and they are things that attract me. I like wines that have a pronunciation, wines that say 'this is me' and shout something and that's why if you look at the part of the wine list that is growing at the restaurant at the moment, it's Sicily, that and whites from Portugal." 

Tomorrow, find out what these sommeliers consider to be the perfect wine and food pairing. 

Find all our Focus on Wine articles here. 

Related News

The perfect match: Sommeliers tell us what they think the best wines are to accompany dishes in their restaurants

Focus on wine: Sommeliers share their restaurant's top food and wine pairings

Yotam Ottolenghi will close his Kensington deli next month with a view to opening a larger site next year

Yotam Ottolenghi announces Kensington deli closure, eyes larger site

Wine Australia has introduced Dine Australia to its annual tasting this year to show how versatile the nation's wines are

Wine Australia brings dining focus to Australia Day Tasting

Londoners splashing out on more expensive wine

Londoners splashing out on more expensive wine

Wine and spirits are stealing market share from beer in pubs, restaurants and bars

Report highlights growing importance of wine and spirits to on-trade drinks sales

Verden focuses in wine, cheese and charcuterie

Former Scott’s team opens wine cheese and charcuterie venue

Wine sales are on the up in premium restaurants, wine bars, hotels and gastropubs

Premium wine sales boom in high-end establishments, finds report

Yohan Jousselin is the 2011 UK Sommelier of the Year

Yohann Jousselin: Sommeliers need to be proud and adaptable

Maze's Arnaud Baudary took second place in the international young sommelier of the year competition

Maze's Arnaud Baudary takes second place in international sommelier competition

(L-R) Christian Holthausen from Piper Heidseck, Yohann Jousselin, Victor Lanson from First Drinks and Roy Ackerman from AFWS

Yohann Jousselin wins UK Sommelier of the Year after six attempts

Eric Zwiebel, sommelier at the Summer Lodge hotel in Dorset, has been named as the fourth best sommelier at a contest in Tokyo

Summer Lodge sommelier named fourth best in the world

The winner of the Moet UK Sommelier of the Year competition was revealed as Clement Robert of Medlar yesterday

Clement Robert of Medlar named Moet UK Sommelier of the Year 2013

John Grieveson of Enotria gives his top tips on how to write a wine menu

How to write a wine menu

Top wine and food matches awarded

Wine experts reveal top wine and food pairings

Suggesting the right wine to match with your dishes could help you sell more of both

Food and drink matching trends: Wine

Training must be engaging, interactive and make wine approachable and simple for staff to understand

How to help staff sell wine with confidence

Related Products

See more related products

Comments (1)

Rochelle Bushell - 10 Jun 2013 | 11:12

Surely this is not all

I'm very surprised South Africa has not been mentioned in this article. There is a wine-making talent that simply cannot be ignored on an international scale, with some incredibly exciting wines - seductively sexy Syrah’s to chivalrous old vine Chenin’s. Really think the author needs to broaden her horizons.

10-Jun-2013 at 23:12 GMT

Submit a comment

Your comment has been saved

Post a comment

Please note that any information that you supply is protected by our Privacy and Cookie Policy. Access to all documents and request for further information are available to all users at no costs, In order to provide you with this free service, William Reed Business Media SAS does share your information with companies that have content on this site. When you access a document or request further information from this site, your information maybe shared with the owners of that document or information.