With an evolving climate and changing market forces, there are always great quality wines emerging from new and old places. The Old World and bigger New World players will always be staples of the wine world, but all over the globe there are new countries, producers and grape varieties with unique identities, making their way onto the scene. In this post, we will explore 5 up and coming regions, brand new, or older than old, finding their way onto the global scene.
A beautiful aspect of the wine world is that there are always new methods, countries, and climates to explore. Winemakers are creating new unique wines with distinct characters and complexity. While France, Italy, and California will always be staples in the wine world, many new and up-and-coming wine regions exist. In this blog post, we'll explore some of the top up-and-coming wine regions for expanding your palate.
Slovenia - Slovenia's wine industry is small but mighty, producing some excellent and distinctive wines. Slovenia’s wine scene was hindered by the Soviet Union, production and ownership being dictated by central government. Post 1991, the explosion of orange wine onto the global scene is in no small part thanks to a coterie of highly-talented winemakers from Slovenia, doing incredible things with Georgian quevri and Slovenian native grapes. Look for wines made from Rebula, which can be produced in styles from crisp and refreshing whites to complex and age-worthy oranges. Look also to the Refosco grape variety, which produces a full-bodied and tannic red. And if you had dismissed all Pinot Grigio as bland and uninspiring, think again as Slovenia is producing some fabulous expressions.
Mexico – although a relatively new player in the UK wine scene, wine has been produced in Mexico since at least 1597 and houses the oldest New World winery still in operation at Casa Madero. The most prominent region is Baja California to the west. Blessed with a Mediterranean climate – warm, dry summers and mild, wet winters – and a cooling fog rolling in from the Pacific, conditions are perfect for grape growing. 150+ wineries now operate in the region, producing ripe, full-bodied wines from Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo and Chardonnay (among others).
Canada – Canada has already found fame as the world’s largest producer of Ice Wine. But it is now beginning to make waves for its sparkling, white and reds. British Columbia in the west houses Canada’s only desert and its warm, dry growing season can produce some excellent full-bodied reds blends. Niagara, the home of Canadian Ice Wine, is also capable of producing brilliant Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Riesling. The only challenge is drinking it before the Canadians do so themselves.
Armenia: claims to be home to the oldest winery in the world, discovered in a cave complex in 2007, that dates back to 4000BC. Sandwiched between Georgia, Iran, Turkey and Azerbaijan, the 20th century saw Armenian grape growing directed to the production of grape brandy that was prized during the Soviet Union. Post 1991, Armenian wine has experienced a small renaissance and has a plethora of indigenous varietals that are capable of producing exciting, high-quality wines. The most notable is Areni Noir, likened to a cross between Sangiovese and Pinot Noir. Over 50% of wineries in Armenia were founded in the last 15 years, so the stage is set for a revival and expansion
China: China may have a history of fermentation going back thousands of years, but grape wine has only become a force in the last 40 or so years. Such was the increase in domestic production between 2006-2016, China is now second only to Spain in total vineyard area. French wine – first Bordeaux, then Burgundy – has been the archetype for production, with Cabernet Sauvignon dominating plantings. The venerable Berry Bros have tipped China to match Bordeaux quality in the next 50 years and as this suggest, red wine dominates up to 90% of production. More recent efforts have begun to move away from Bordeaux copies, with Marselan (Cabernet Sauvignon x Grenache) establishing itself as a unique Chinese offering. An enormous geographic space, with huge variety of climate and soil types, a country with a huge and growing thirst for wine. Watch this space!
Poland: wine has been produced in Poland as far back as the 10th century. Modern Polish wine begins post-1991 and with the onset of a warming climate, meaning wineries are better funded, with more technical knowledge and a climate that is more amenable to growing grapes. The standard-bearer for Polish wine in Winnica Turnau. It is the largest winery, with the most funding and has been demonstrating what Polish terroir is capable of. Biodynamic viticulture has taken root in the south of the country, where Winnica Wielizca are creating precise and mineral styles of white and orange wines.
Attending one of our wine-tasting events at our bar in Elephant and Castle, London is a great way to explore new wines and learn more about the wine-making process. The world of wine is all about discovery and exploration. At Diogenes the Dog, we pride ourselves on offering a diverse and exciting wine selection. Please feel free to contact us to book a wine-tasting event or to learn more about our offerings.
Cheers to new adventures and new wine discoveries! Check out or Wine Tastings for opportunities to taste and learn more.