What's new under the sun?

Ever since Robert Parker ruined the entire CdP region for wine lovers, I’ve been on a mission to find well-priced, daily drinkers from non-obvious regions of obvious countries. I spent some time in the Loire and that was great, although I haven’t completely gotten over the demise of Clos Roche Blanche. I hit Beaujolais for a while and that was great (thanks global climate change!), until everyone caught on and the prices went crazy. I’ve settled in the past year exploring the off piste wines of Italy. It has been a great success and there seem to be endless small producers that are revitalizing their local industry, taking their regions from box and jug to refined and honest.

What are others thinking about unheralded areas in France, Italy, Spain or even the US?

Someone here turned me onto Colorado wines.


Check out what Larry at Tercero is doing with Santa Barbara grapes, along with others like Jaffurs. Not that SB is unheard of, but it is not the first place people think of when they think California wines and that is too bad.

None of us have, none of us have…

I am always on the lookout for any wine from the Languedoc. If spotted, do some research and move on from there. IF it is a white, I am game right away.

Sherwin’s back!
Have you tried Ribeira Sacra?

Tons of great wine coming out of the alto adige region these days. Also some great whites from elsewhere in Italy - e.g. Orvieto and pecorino. Really fun to explore.

You haven’t been to the Finger lakes lately, have you?

I’d suggest Roero, Ruche, Baden, Mittelrhein, & Montecarlo in Italy & Germany.

If you’re looking for the next CdP? Maybe Priorat?

Robert Parker has no more ruined the CDP appellation, than the equivalent claim that he made it great. It’s all in our own perspective. From my perspective I mostly agree with you, but others believe he encouraged them on the right path.

Cahors remains a happy playground for me, with a favourite costing just a tenner a bottle and cellars very well (arguably it needs 5 years at least). A local merchant even has it in all sizes from half bottles up to very long names I won’t even attempt to spell, that come in up to and beyond the 9L of a standard case.

With Loire reds and Bojo in your style slot (no wonder you don’t like Parker’s take on CdP!) that should give a nice lead to light/bright reds, not afraid of a hint of greenness. Certainly worth giving some of the ‘natural wines’ a go. Often a controversial area, but for someone starting from Loire and Bojo, the transition might not be shocking. Bairrada from Portugal with a decade or more age on it might appeal. Barbera could be interesting to explore if you haven’t already, but avoiding the big/oaked versions that Braida championed. Boasso/Gabutti make one that we really enjoy and it’s ‘cheap as chips’. Northern Piemonte / Lombardia might give you a Nebbiolo fix if you find them becoming too up-front fruity / too ripe. Moving into warmer regions, Puglia can surprise and there is genuine value to be sniffed out. I’m very taken by Castel del Monte appellation and Nero di Troia grape, but other local grapes can appeal, especially if you don’t mind the occasional funk. Try Rivera’s Il Falcone for the former and Candido’s Cappello di Prete for reasonably priced options. Hauner’s Hiera is worth a try if you want something to remind you of Southern Rhone with a little spice. Trading up, Chateau Musar has some similarities and ages brilliantly, even if it’s a bit more civilised than it used to be.

All the above are somewhat random selections - it sounds like you have the right mindset of trying new stuff and following your own nose and palate - far more appropriate to the task than following Mr Parker’s (or indeed my own)

Some of my favorites right now are the $22 red, white and rosé blends from Sam Bilbro at Idlewild. They are Italian variety blends and just so drinkable. His single variety wines are also very fine, and quite reasonably priced, with many $30-$35. I buy a ton of them because I drink a ton of them.

enjoying greek wines-especially Assyrtiko from Santorini

Eminence Road from New York is also worth trying if you haven’t already.

I don’t know the availability in the States but Sardinian wines are cheap and sometimes great. In Mamoiada there is a bunch of winemakers who make wonderful Cannonau (grenache). Over 600 m, often with very old vines, traditional winemaking practices, small producers. Try Montisci, Sedilesu, Puggioni, Fittiloghe. Out of Mamoiada Dettori, Jerzu, Pusole.
Other Italian wines: Donnas and Carema for nebbiolo lovers, and of course Dogliani Diano and Ovada wines from dolcetto

this is a rather silly statement!

Granted, maybe there would be less special cuvees, less use of small/new (or both) oak casks …
but also far less surviving producers (!), still a lot of uncleanly made wines … on the other hand a lot more (neutral, uninteresting) negociant bottlings … and far far less wines available outside of France, even outside the Provence region …

Today you can buy any style of CdP almost everywhere: if you prefer traditional wines, buy Bois de Boursan, Charvin, Ferrand … or Eddie Feraud, Lucien Barrot … Mourre du Tendre …
for lovers of modern style: Clos St.Jean, Font de Michelle, Boisrenard …
100% Grenache: Grenache de Pierre, Pure, Marcoux VV (almost) …
some Legends: Rayas, Bonneau …

I guess your problem is in the head …

Also, the better beaujolais are really good and still price friendly.

That was a bit of tongue in cheek. It must be a language issue or the fact that you don’t know me. [shock.gif]

The veterans here know who I am and know what I think about wines, but thanks for the lessons on CdP though! I can buy any style anywhere. Helpful.

I haven’t. I think Asimov wrote about them a while back and it looked interesting. Anything you’d recommend? Spain is way outside my wheelhouse, as you know.

We have to grab a bottle soon, Keith. Been a long time.