Perhaps one of the most confusing parts of wine is what to order when you are in a restaurant. The pricing can be confusing, the lists full of labels you’ve never heard of, and the wait staff sometimes less than forthcoming with something value minded and still delicious. We were once victims of the infamous 3x markup and now we try to avoid it like the plague (let’s be honest, never in the history of Napa Chardonnay has there been one worth $150).
With all that in mind- how can you avoid this dreaded conundrum of wanting delicious wine with delicious food, but avoiding a missed mortgage payment or leveraging your first born? It is simpler than you may think, search for strange regions of the world, especially at finer restaurants. We recently had a delicious bottle of Slovenian Pinot Noir from a French restaurant in Boston and it was exceptional and only priced at $55, well below a similar French Pinot from Burgundy priced at $145. Now there is nothing wrong, of course, with ordering a special bottle for a special occasion, however, exploring the non-traditional parts of the world can be both fun and save you a fortune. So here are a few of our new favorite areas of the world and the types of wine they are doing best….
- Slovenia – Red Wines (not a ton makes it out of the region, but some are exceptional)
- Finger Lakes, New York- Rieslings (we know right… New York….Wine????, but the climate here is wonderful for crisp acidic Rieslings and even a few semi-sweet ones)
- Tasmania, Australia- Reds (especially Pinot Noir) and Whites- the cold temperature here contradicts the typical juicy style of Australia and mirrors some elements of costal Chile and Patagonia in style.
- Croatia- Reds and Whites- The costal climate of Croatia allows for maritime influences to mitigate the intense summer heat. Hard to find in the U.S., they can still be fun to explore and are rarely over $15 in a store.
- Lebanon- Reds (especially Bordeaux, Blends)- With some leftover influence of French colonialism Lebanon has a surprisingly robust wine culture with some truly wonderful producers. Our favorite is Chateau Musar
(which can indeed be expensive). However, there are many value minded wineries that excel at Bordeaux style blends.
So don’t be afraid to explore the whole world of wine and reach out with any questions you have!