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Most underrated wine region or country


fresco
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This may be as tough or tougher than "overrated"--every week there seems to be some new (or renewed) producer coming onstream. There have been some pleasant surprises from Argentina, and some unpleasant ones from places like Rumania. Where are the next great wine values going to come from?

Arthur Johnson, aka "fresco"
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Spain.

I think the importers have this covered with markups already.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

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Spain.

I think the importers have this covered with markups already.

Yeah, the Tempranillo folks have Spain well covered, but I still think there is so much more from that country we haven't even scratched the surface of yet.

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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I see such markups on the imported Spanish wines, that while they're bargains in Spain--I'm never suprised to see a vacationing French family filling their trunk with Spanish wines--they seem priced in line with quality here in the states.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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The liquor control board in ontario is bringing in some very decent Spanish wines under its Vintages (not general release) program, including some quite drinkable ones at about US$10 a bottle, usually from smaller producers. I can see why some discerning French wine drinkers might shop in Spain.

Arthur Johnson, aka "fresco"
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This is such a no-brainer IMO. Germany. If I need to narrow it down, I'd probably lean toward the Pfalz since the Mosel gets plenty of attention already. And there are even some decent spatburgunder coming from the Pfalz.

Maybe I'm picking it because I was just there a couple months back. But I was impressed with a lot of trocken and QbA wines - many of which, unfortunately never reach U.S. shores. But even the pradikat wines are underrated, great values, terrific food wines, etc. etc. etc.

We cannot employ the mind to advantage when we are filled with excessive food and drink - Cicero

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In our market here in Vancouver we have some very well priced spanish wines. Vina 105, Dehessa Gago and Basa from Telmo Rodriguez, as well as Monistrell, Infierno and Hecula from Castano.

What about Vacquerays (is this spelled correctly?) it seems to make higher quality wine then Gigondas at half the price in our market. I've always thought that the crus of Beaujolais are under rated. The Moulin a Vents from Jadot are my favorite.

What about Washinton state, Mendocino, Paso Robles or Livemore?

David Cooper

"I'm no friggin genius". Rob Dibble

http://www.starlinebyirion.com/

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For white wines, Brad is abolutely right -- Germany. Also Alsace has some similar values.

For red wines, there is a lot of regional southern Italian stuff that is very good and pretty cheap, but you have to move around a bit as some wines get written up. I think Taurasi and Aglianico delle Vulture are both capable of great wines. And Sicily has some lovely wines too, but the really good ones are not so cheap anymore.

Abruzzo though I am not a great fan of : futronic -- any names you would particularly point out?

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What about Vacquerays (is this spelled correctly?) it seems to make higher quality wine then Gigondas at half the price in our market. I've always thought that the crus of Beaujolais are under rated.

Re: Vacqueyras. For quite a while now, it and Gigondas have been the two prominent Cotes-du-Rhone Villages wines on the market, with (as you mention) the latter getting more attention and commanding higher prices. But there are many other villages starting to surface - Rasteau and Sablet for instance. And I do like Vacqueyras - Domaine de Amourieres makes a nice one.

Re: cru Beaujolais. Many share your opinion. I don't get to try many from non-Dubeouf producers. But friends with trusted palates certainly love the gamay wines coming from other Beaujolais producers, and some in the Loire.

We cannot employ the mind to advantage when we are filled with excessive food and drink - Cicero

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There's just so many to choose from. I'll pick one red and one white:

White

Runners-up:

Rheinpfalz, Rheingau, Nahe, M-S-R: All undervalued, though M-S-R has played some serious catchup in the last 2 years.

Franken: So underrated the wines are not even imported into the US

Austria: Fits in the odd category of being underrated but not underpriced

Fruili/Alto-Adige: great seafood wines

Vouvray: in addition to the well-priced still wines, great underpriced bubbly

Touraine: this catch-all Loire appellation has some a handful of great producers that show what can be done with dedication

Grand Prize Winner:

Muscadet: It's actually hard to buy a Muscadet in the US market and not get a good wine. The top bottlings, like the Clos des Allees and Clos des Briords and Cuvee Eden, can compete with wines priced much, much higher. These wines need a few days of air time to show well young.

Red

Runners-up:

Pic St Loup: these wines show much more character than most Languedoc reds

Rioja: the traditionally-styled wines are cheap for their quality, and mature wines can be had for reasonable prices

Douro: some great nonfortified wines from here in recent years

Chinon/Saumur/Bourg. : a style that is not for everyone, so it's great for you if you like it

Grand Prize Winner:

Beaujolais: they may not have gobs, but they've got everything else. The 2003's may even have gobs..

--- Lee

Seattle

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This is such a no-brainer IMO. Germany. If I need to narrow it down, I'd probably lean toward the Pfalz since the Mosel gets plenty of attention already. And there are even some decent spatburgunder coming from the Pfalz.

Maybe I'm picking it because I was just there a couple months back. But I was impressed with a lot of trocken and QbA wines - many of which, unfortunately never reach U.S. shores. But even the pradikat wines are underrated, great values, terrific food wines, etc. etc. etc.

Personally I think the Rheingaus are the hardest to get, simply because of their limited production.

However as to Germany being underrated -- fundamentally I agree with this but even among publications like Wine Spectator rieslings very frequently get top marks, and at good wine stores I've seen some pretty big markups on the top rated ones. $30 rieslings are not so uncommon anymore.

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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Emilia Romagna. Sangiovese of exceptional quality but without the price tag, and Lambrusco which if you haven't had the pleasure of a good quality dry one go out right now and get one. You've got Parma hams, Reggiano cheese and rich meaty big and bouncy (no wait that's the Who) sauces.

over it

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Spain.

I think the importers have this covered with markups already.

Yeah, the Tempranillo folks have Spain well covered, but I still think there is so much more from that country we haven't even scratched the surface of yet.

I'm with Jason on the Spanish wines. Several 2001 Spanish wines were reviewed in The Washington Post by Michael Franz last July, and we hosted a small tasting party built around his recommendations. These have come to market recently, and some of them are IMHO excellent values. Two particularly well liked, even by my wife, who is usually a white-wine-only girl, are

Vina Mayor Tinto Roble ($10 per Franz, but we found it on sale at Calvert Woodley in DC at $7.99/bottle).

Marques de Griñon ($11 per Franz, on sale at $8.69 at CW)

Both are smooth, somewhat fruity, with little or no Cab-type heaviness (which I like but which is a turnoff for spouseperson). We bought cases of each of these and two more, which are now maturing in a cool, shady spot downstairs (the closest thing we have to a wine cellar :laugh:). Haven't broken into them again, but they were super values and probably will age well (according to Franz).

THW

P.S. Almost time for the ham, collards, and black eyed peas. Happy New year y'all :laugh:.

Edited to remove stupid spelling mistake.

Edited by hwilson41 (log)

"My only regret in life is that I did not drink more Champagne." John Maynard Keynes

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... but you have to move around a bit as some wines get written up.

Alas, there are no truer words. As certain wines become more fashionable they rise in price, often moving quickly from bargain to over priced. There's another problem and I think I've seen examples in Gigondas and maybe Vaqueyras. It's that a few good wines from an unknown, or at least under appreciated appellation, attract a shipper or wholesaler and are offered at a reasonable price knowing they're not going to find an immediate market. In time, these wines attract a market and establish a reputation for the appellation. Along come the less reputable middlemen. They find a wine in the appellation that's much inferior and selling for far less from the chateau, but because of the "name" on the label, will sell for an unwarranted premium in the US. They price it at a few bucks lower than the wine that deserves twice the price and in no time, the appellation is no longer reliable and the original imports raise their price accordingly. The ten dollar wine drinker is attracted to a baqrgain $15 Gigondas. Six months later he spots and tries a $12 that appears to be a bargain, but is not as good as his daily ten buck stuff. Enough of that gets sold at $12 and the $15 stuff moves up to $20 where it may belong--or maybe the $12 stuff is worth six or eight and the fifteen dollar wine is only worth eighteen. End of the bargain appellation. Buxbaum's law?

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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$30 rieslings are not so uncommon anymore.

I'll still pay that much for the rieslings that command that price than the chardonnays that don't. And your point on Rheingau is well taken. Same goes for the Mittelrhein and Nahe (outside of Donnhoff).

We cannot employ the mind to advantage when we are filled with excessive food and drink - Cicero

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I personally don't think Germans are underrated, look at recent media saturation. Equally I don't think they will ever be wide spread "hot", always being in the cork dorks sanctum.

the area I do beleive will be "hot" and is approaching such already is the Languedoc Roussilion. It has a broad spread of quality, across most price points, can be ripe and easy to understand for the supermarket customer, and the top end offers finesse, complexity within a robust and rich wine context.

They have great terroir and aren't afraid of technology or new developments, in fact I can't think of a more dynamic combination of the 2 anywhere in the world today.

Another personal, great value wines, I think are underrated (and probably always will be) - Chinon & bourgeil. Fragrant, crisp wines, nervy and complex - also they cost bugger all, and can age forever.

A meal without wine is... well, erm, what is that like?

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I would vote Portugal while concentating on the dry whites and reds.

Alentejo, Bairrada, and Dao wine regions mostly.

Also Greek wines mostly from the northern part and some from the islands.

I don't think a wine professional can underrate German wine production in general.

Riesling, Silvaner and their offsprong Muller-Thurgeau all produce very interesting wines and Germany is gifted with many excellent winemakers.

Quoting from a sign above the office of an Australian winemaker: "No wood no good" simply does not apply in Germany, Greece nor portugal.

Andre Suidan

I was taught to finish what I order.

Life taught me to order what I enjoy.

The art of living taught me to take my time and enjoy.

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Equally I don't think they (German wines) will ever be wide spread "hot", always being in the cork dorks sanctum.

We can only hope.

What this thread is showing is that there's plenty of good, unheralded wine out there. Period. And a good New Year's resolution is to try as many as one can. :biggrin:

We cannot employ the mind to advantage when we are filled with excessive food and drink - Cicero

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