Let ’s imagine that you’re a football coach looking to discover a new top player, where would you start looking? You definitely wouldn’t go scouting at the top clubs because the players there are already well-known and would cost a lot.
The same applies to importers who are looking for a new top wine or wine region. They would avoid Bordeaux, Burgundy, Rioja and Piedmont, and wines like Barolo and super Tuscans because these wines and regions are already very popular, which have made their prices skyrocket so there’s no point in looking there.
However, there are many wine areas all over the world producing exceptional wines, quite often from grapes whose names not many people are familiar with – and because they’re not popular they sell at low prices even though the quality is very high.
An example of this is the Monastrell grape, also known as Mourvedre, grown mostly in the Mediterranean parts of France and Spain by small family-run wineries, who for the last 10 years have been producing top wines, as is the case with Bodegas Castano in Murcia, whose wines you can find for around VND300,000 or less and are rated 91 Parker points.
If we move to Portugal, Alentejo is a great example of producing amazing, beautiful aromatic white wines from Verdehlo grapes, an alternative for lovers of Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier.
Even France has some hidden gems, if you look for wines from the Languedoc area, and Corbieres in particular, you will find amazing surprises at great prices. Again not a Bordeaux blend, rather Syrah, Grenache and Carignan, but fresh beautiful wines full of fruit and complexity.
Italy is no exception either. If you want to enjoy some amazing good value for money wine, give Sicilian wines a try, especially those made from Nero de Avola grapes, offering rich and dark wines similar to Cabernet Sauvignon but with their own particularities, aromas and flavor.
Next time you are about to buy some wine, why not experiment with some new grapes and areas? Not much risk to take, and many jewels to be discovered!
BIO: Alfredo de la Casa has been organizing wine tastings for over 20 years and has published three wine books, including the Gourmand award winner for best wine education book. You can reach him at www.wineinvietnam.com.