I taste an average 5000 wine a year from myriad regions both obscure and famous at the L.C.B.O’s tasting laboratory and numerous portfolio tastings organized by agencies.
Lately Greek, Portuguese, southern Italian, and Languedoc and Roussillon (France) started delivering fine wines at reasonable cost, often better value than more famous regions.
In South America Argentina and Chile produce outstanding value for a number of reasons – land is less expensive than in famous regions, as is labour, and wineries must export since the population cannot consume the quantity produced.
Before you make a purchase decision consult a wine merchant regarding vintage quality. Vintage matters in every region in some more than others.
In southern Italy Sicily now offers the best values. Young conscientious winemakers who use the best equipment available and use their expertise gained at universities in Italy, France, Germany, and the U.S.A.
Look for wines from teh following wineries – Cusumano, Tasca d’Almerita, Benanti, Planeta, Donnafugata, Duca di Salaparuta, Tenuta delle Terre Nere, Azienda Agricola Arianna Occhipinti, Feudo Arancia, Morgante, Valle dell Acate, Marco de Bartoli, Barone Montalto, Caruso e Minini, and Tenuta Rapitala.
Languedoc and Roussillon has more vineyard acreage than all of Australia. It is a region in southern France along the Mediterranean Sea.
The following wineries offer quality and value – Hecht et Bannier, Chateau de Nage, Gerard Bertrand, Chateau d’Angels, Cave de Roquebrun, Chateau Calmette, Bonfils Vigrenons de Pere et Fils, Domaine de Cabral, and Chateau Bosuquette.
Greece now offers outstanding wines from Santorini, Naoussa in northern Greece, Crete, Peloponnesian lands, and from vineyards near Thessaloniki on the northern shores of the Aegean Sea.
If you like sweet wine try those from Samos.
Niko Lazaridi, Domaine Gerovasiliou, Ktima Kir-Yanni, Ktima Pavlidis, Oenos, Hatzimichalis, Katogi-Strofilia, Gaia Wines, Sigalas, and Boutari enjoy a good reputation for delivering quality and value.
Portugal may be a small country more famous for its fortified and sweet port and Madeira wines, but there are many regions that produce fine bottles and reasonable cost.
The Douro Valley, once world famous for its port wine now produces also excellent dry, red and white table wines.
Try the wines of teh following wineries with confidence – Lemos and van Zeller, Duorum, Ramos-Pinto, Quinta do Crasto, Terras Altas, Esporao, Principe do Dao, and J. Portugal Ramos.
Chile is a long and narrow country separated by the Andes Mountain chain from Argentina in the east. From north to south and pending on the vicinity of the Pacific Ocean the climate changes from hot to warm to cool in south.
Cabernet sauvignon and syrah grow well in the Colchagua Valley south of Santiago; sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, and even pinot noir yield fine wines in Casablanca- and Limari Valleys west of the financial capital of the country.
Carmenere and merlot have been planted from Limari Valley all the way to the Colchagua Valley a little more south.
Vina Casablanca, Casa Lapostolle, Errazuriz, Vina Tabali, Vina Morande, Veramonte, Miguel Torres Chile, Amayna, Anakena, Montes, Perez Cruz, Santa Rita, Santa Carolina, Cousino Macul, and Undurraga are only a few of the more than 500 wineries that produce fine wines at reasonable prices.
Argentina made great progress in the last two decades and now exports huge quantities of well-made wine to the United Kingdom, the U.S.A., Canada, China (in bulk for blending), and Scandinavian countries.
Malbec is by far the most successful in red wines but bonarda, chardonnay, syrah and a few other varieties yield very fine wines pending on terroir and winery philosophy.
Nieto Senetiner, Alamos, Susana Balbo, Chakana, Achaval-Ferrer, Argento Wine Company, Bodega Familia Schroeder, Famila Zuccardi, Catena Zapata, Clos de los Siete, Finca Flichman, Bodega Norton, and Bodega Graffinga are well known for quality and value.