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Most underrated wine region or country


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Alto Adige in Italy (or Styria, depending on whether you ask an Italian or an Austrian :rolleyes:) has always had some fantastic values and very consistent producers. The wines of Alois Lageder are top notch and quite reasonable. There are other producers such as Hofstatter and Ignaz Niedrist (tough to find but amazing wines) as well.

Slovenia - I've had a couple of Pinot Grigio from here that have really knocked my socks off. And I'm usually NOT a Pinot Grigio fan - more of an Alsace/Oregon Pinot Gris style fan instead. Not the usual thin and weedy tasting stuff you'd WANT to put ice cubes in, but a richer and more flavorful (dare I say - Chardonnay-like :hmmm:) quaff than the stuff most Americans think of when they think of Pinot Grigio. Movia Villa Marija is a good example of this. The grapes for this wine come from just over the Italian border and the wine is made in Slovenia.

Friuli/Venizia/Giulia - Slovenia is sort of an extension of this, I suppose, being all of just slightly across the border as in the previous example. Livio Felluga and Borgo del Tiglio make nice affordable wines here.

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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And if I may be bold, Uruguay is the next Chile.

Jason, I want to be bolder than you and say Bulgaria!! When I was working in Bordeaux my boss pulled out a bottle of 1955 Cabernet Sauvignon (nb pre-communist) that was one of the most memorable bottles I've ever had. This was about 1992/3. We drank it with a Bulgarian who was working in the lab for the vintage and he refused to believe that it was Bulgarian. A shame that past glories cannot be redisovered.

(PS I have had some really nice wine from Uraguay)

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Alto Adige in Italy (or Styria, depending on whether you ask an Italian or an Austrian :rolleyes:) has always had some fantastic values and very  consistent producers.

Ha ha ha funny...

Styria is another austrian region on the east of the country, the Austrians and the Alto Adige german people call A.A. "Südtirol".

The wines of Alois Lageder are top notch and quite reasonable.  There are other producers such as Hofstatter and Ignaz Niedrist (tough to find but amazing wines) as well.

I've had 2001 Lagrein from Lageder recently and I've found good structure and flavors but a quite disturbing alcohol presence. Other reds I've tasted from Lageder were tasty as well. :smile:

Cheers,

Alberto

Edited by Alberto (log)
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End of the bargain appellation. Buxbaum's law?

So we are in search of a virtually unknown, hence not written up (and preferredly written down) appellation capable of producing good wine at moderate prices?

I'd vote for the best producers of Chasselas around the lake of Geneva and Pinot Noir (!) from top producers in northeastern Switzerland ($12-15).

Never heard before? Think of Buxbaums law.

It's so much of a secret I can't even convince my compatriots. But they are completely missing the quality changes having occurred in the last several years.

Balex, are you here? Get some bottles of Pierre Leyvraz (Chexbres) St.Saphorin Les Blassinges 2001. Awesome apéritif wine at $11. I was successful in convincing some hard core Chasselas refusers.

Make it as simple as possible, but not simpler.

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I'd vote for the best producers of Chasselas around the lake of Geneva and Pinot Noir (!) from top producers in northeastern Switzerland ($12-15).

Never heard before? Think of Buxbaums law.

It's so much of a secret I can't even convince my compatriots. But they are completely missing the quality changes having occurred in the last several years.

Balex, are you here? Get some bottles of Pierre Leyvraz (Chexbres) St.Saphorin Les Blassinges 2001. Awesome apéritif wine at $11. I was successful in convincing some hard core Chasselas refusers.

I'll try this one. I have had a lot of nice surprises in Swiss wine.

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I make wine in Spain, so I'd be tempted to serve my interests first. But that's preposterous. Spanish wines are not wildly well-known, but they're still available throughout the US. OTOH, two countries making a number of great (not just good) wines are practically unknown in the US: Portugal (non-fortified wines) and Switzerland.

Re Switzerland, I'm not the greatest fan of chasselas, and pinot noir (even though it can be delicious) suffers from the proximity of Burgundy. That's why I rather go for native grape varieties, some of them almost extinct, planted on only 20 or 30 hectares, for unique tastes. A few names of producers I strongly recommend (if you can locate any bottles...) are Claudy Clavien, Denis Mercier, Simon Maye & Fils and Marie-Thérèse Chappaz in Valais; Jean-Michel Novelle and Les Balisiers in Geneva. (There, the vineyards are five minutes by car from Geneva International Airport, with some exciting hillside sites!) The best native varieties are cornalin and humagne for reds, petite arvine for whites and amigne for sweet whites.

Victor de la Serna

elmundovino

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Unitl the Termes (Baby Numanthia) showed up on WS Top 100 list, I'd have voted for the Toro region of Spain as being underrated. The prices seem to have gone up considerably since. I also understand that a number of large producers have bought up land as they recognize the potential.

"These pretzels are making me thirsty." --Kramer

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I make wine in Spain, so I'd be tempted to serve my interests first. But that's preposterous. Spanish wines are not wildly well-known, but they're still available throughout the US. OTOH, two countries making a number of great (not just good) wines are practically unknown in the US: Portugal (non-fortified wines) and Switzerland.

Re Switzerland, I'm not the greatest fan of chasselas, and pinot noir (even though it can be delicious) suffers from the proximity of Burgundy. That's why I rather go for native grape varieties, some of them almost extinct, planted on only 20 or 30 hectares, for unique tastes. A few names of producers I strongly recommend (if you can locate any bottles...) are Claudy Clavien, Denis Mercier, Simon Maye & Fils and Marie-Thérèse Chappaz in Valais; Jean-Michel Novelle and Les Balisiers in Geneva. (There, the vineyards are five minutes by car from Geneva International Airport, with some exciting hillside sites!) The best native varieties are cornalin and humagne for reds, petite arvine for whites and amigne for sweet whites.

Yep. I wish someone would write a clear overview of portugese wines, because I'm finding great stuff there for significantly less than the (already good value) Spanish wines (or languedoc for that matter).

Personally I would extend the Swiss secret to the other side of Lake Geneva: Savoie. I just found a great Gamay from Bugey, and there are other secrets there.

Personally, I think underatedness is hard to define globally, as so much of my judgement, anyway, is colored by the predilections of my local wine merchants. E.g., in N. California, Languedoc is so 5 years ago. Also, as long as I'm offering opinions, I have never had a California wine I considered a good deal, except relative to other California wines. The caveat is that I don't often spend more than $20/bottle (and certainly not on California wines).

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Alto Adige in Italy (or Styria, depending on whether you ask an Italian or an Austrian :rolleyes:) has always had some fantastic values and very  consistent producers.

Ha ha ha funny...

Styria is another austrian region on the east of the country, the Austrians and the Alto Adige german people call A.A. "Südtirol".

The wines of Alois Lageder are top notch and quite reasonable.  There are other producers such as Hofstatter and Ignaz Niedrist (tough to find but amazing wines) as well.

I've had 2001 Lagrein from Lageder recently and I've found good structure and flavors but a quite disturbing alcohol presence. Other reds I've tasted from Lageder were tasty as well. :smile:

Cheers,

Alberto

Alberto:

You are quite correct, and it's what I meant, but not what I said. I think of both of those area as Austrian provinces that begin with an "S" and are south of Vienna, which is pretty much where I spent most of my time there. So I confused myself. And I'm obviously pretty easily confused. :wacko:.

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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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.

germany won't export the best wines because these are produced for germans to drink-unfettered. german winemakers don't want to mass produce and ruin the quality of the wines. my recomendation is to spend the money on a plane ticket and go right to the source! i rather enjoy spatburgunders as well.

"Ham isn't heroin..." Morgan Spurlock from "Supersize Me"

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So vserna, seeing you won't say I will, or more correctlyThomas Matthews from Wine Spectator:

Finca Sandoval Manchuela 2001, This international style red offers a saturated purple colour, lot's of toasty,smoky oak and plush texture. Flavours lean toward chocolate and coffee, with notes of plum and mineral. Syrah with Mataro (Monistrell?). Best from 2004 through 2009.

Sound great, wish we could get in Vancouver. Just had a bottle of Casa de L'Ermite 2002, so my alegiance is obvious. Hecula, Thelmo Rodriguez, Castell del Remei and Nekkeas, are the names of the producers I would look for, as well as Finca Sandoval if I could find it.

David Cooper

"I'm no friggin genius". Rob Dibble

http://www.starlinebyirion.com/

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Yes, coop, that's what I make. It isn't imported into Canada yet.

I'll correct a small mistake by Katie Loeb: the Austrian name of Alto Adige is not Styria, but Südtirol. Styria, BTW, is the English name of a different region, Austria's Steiermark.

Edited by vserna (log)

Victor de la Serna

elmundovino

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Jason, I want to be bolder than you and say Bulgaria!!

I'll second the vote for Bulgaria. Great bargains right now on their wines. Also terrific value from Argentina. Although a little more expensive, South Africa delivers Australian quality at a lower price.

I know a man who gave up smoking, drinking, sex, and rich food. He was healthy right up to the day he killed himself. - Johnny Carson
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There's just so many to choose from. I'll pick one red and one white:

White

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

Two words: Gruner Veltliner.

I predict it will come on strong soon. Which might be a bad thing that drive prices up. We had a fabulous bottle at Blue Hill, and it was only $30.

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Two words: Gruner Veltliner.

I predict it will come on strong soon.

The problem with Grüner Veltliner is his popularity for 15 years now in Austria. The quality revolution didn't go unnoticed there and now we have prices up to $40 for the best bottles in retail. Underrated, but not way underpriced, as LOS said.

A truly underrated region is something where improvements had just begun with some producers and where only some of their clientele know it. A place where journalists and writers are still caught in prejudice and behind the knowledge of smart customers.

There's a kind of the 'institutional lemming' factor at work: You can't be wrong when writing what others write. And don't stick your neck out by some risky judgement.

Finding underrated regions is labour intensive grassroot work. The price you get is the pride of having been among the first to notice it. If you're wrong, you're only ridicoulous.

Make it as simple as possible, but not simpler.

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I shouldn't have said "underrated," but relatively unknown in the U.S.

No no, you're absolutely right, the greatness of GV ist not widely recognized.

And when I think of WineSpectator ratings, I guess among US wine aficionados "Grüner" or simply "GV" is already better known than in Europe (except in Austria, of course).

There's a thread over there about (Canadian) Icewine. Maybe those (except famous Inniskillin) are examples for an underrated North-American wine type. Opinions?

Make it as simple as possible, but not simpler.

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There's a thread over there about (Canadian) Icewine. Maybe those (except famous Inniskillin) are examples for an underrated North-American wine type. Opinions?

While I like ice wine, I'm not so crazy about it that I want to drop $1 per sip on it too often. The flavour is so intense that it deserves to be tasted on it's own, without food. For pairing with desserts, I prefer a late-harvest wine, which is not as sweet, and is about 1/3 of the cost.

Canada makes great ice wine, but I think it's over-rated - in fact its Canada's dry style wines which are under-rated. Between Niagara and Okanagan, we make very good examples of just about everything, red and white.

I know a man who gave up smoking, drinking, sex, and rich food. He was healthy right up to the day he killed himself. - Johnny Carson
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