Four Obscure Wine Regions To Try
Great Southern, Western Australia
You can almost taste the isolation in the wines of the wild South West. Vines take root in ancient soils under endless skies in one of the largest and most sparsely populated wine regions on earth. Comprising five sub-regions – Frankland River, Denmark, Mount Barker, Porongurup and Albany – it’s a place where sheep farmers produce elegantly framed reds and thrilling rieslings are born in the shadow of ancient rocky outcrops that echo with the songs of millennia of dreaming.
WINES TO TRY :FRANKLAND
ESTATE ISOLATION RIDGE SHIRAZ; CHERUB I NO PO RON GURU P RIESLING
It’s hardly surprising an island designed by God, for the sole purpose of long, seafood-laden, sun-drenched lunches, has developed its own signature wine style to lubricate them. Assyrtiko is the variety dominating the sandy vineyards of Santorini, the vines pruned into low basket shapes to protect the delicate grapes from the Aegean winds that have carried the sailors of myth and history. It produces a wine that is crisp, crunchy, humming with lemony acidity and is the greatest partner for a grilled sardine ever devised.
WINES TO TRY: GAIA THALASSITIS
ASS YR TI K O; JIM BARRY ASS YR TIKO
(AUSTRALIA’S FIRST ASSYRTIKO, FROM
VINE CUTTINGS TAKEN FROM SAN TOR IN I)
Not the southern US state, rather, the former Soviet republic with the longest continuous winemaking tradition in the world. With its own unique varieties like saperavi and rkatsiteli, as well as the distinctively different practice of fermenting white wines on their skins in large clay vessels buried in the earth, Georgia produces some of the world’s most idiosyncratic and delicious wines in much the same way today as it did 8000 years ago.
WINE TO TRY: PHEASANT’S
The black slate and quartz rich soils known to the locals of Catalonia’s Priorat region as ‘llicorella’, produce red wines of great concentration and power. The steeply terraced vineyards rise as high as 700 metres above sea level and are planted mainly to red varieties like grenache and carignan, though a handful of white varieties such as macabeo are permitted. The wines are savoury and spicy, firmly structured and desperate for the company of wood-grilled meats.
WINES TO TRY: C LO S FIG UER AS
C LOS FIGUERAS; ALVA R OPAL AC I OS
CAMINS DEL PRIORAT