Just about every day, as wine o'clock approaches, you can find me uncorking or unscrewing a new wine adventure. Being a wine enthusiast, a wine writer, and someone who appreciates the liquid expression of place, a person’s vision, and Mother Nature’s influence, I find wine to be one of the most intriguing beverages out there. It is an area of interest where you never run out of great people to meet and new things to taste and learn.
The wines selected for this post all are from lesser-known wine regions. I often refer to such wines as ‘hidden gems’. One of the more exciting aspects of wine is branching out and discovering regions that tend to fall off the radar of most consumers. Just because these regions are not well known does not mean they cannot deliver on quality. In fact, many of them are more than worthy of your attention. Experiencing such wines can be eye-opening and palate-expanding; and you just may find a new favorite to add to your regular sipping rotation. For further information and where you can find these hidden gems, please see my tasting notes below.
|Chateau Musar 2004 Bekaa Valley Rouge|
Chateau Musar 2004 Gaston Hochar Rouge (SRP $53): Pale-medium garnet in color, this medium-bodied wine leads with tart red berry fruit, dried cranberries and earthy flavors framed by notes of worn leather, sweet tobacco leaf, forest floor, dried flowers, and fennel seed. It is well-balanced with a generous underpinning of fresh acidity supporting a sleek yet age-worthy frame. This wine opens nicely over time, and ends with more earth and funk-like qualities than the red fruits you catch up-front. What I really like about this wine is its ability to simultaneously juggle a savory complexity coupled with pretty aspects while being anchored by a downright funky core. If you prefer old-world wines with a lot of character, I recommend putting this Lebanese winery on your radar. You will not be disappointed. Region: Bekaa Valley, Lebanon. Other info: ABV 13.5%, composition: Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignane, Cinsault, cork enclosure. Click here to find this wine.
|Linden Vineyards 2006 Hardscrabble Red|
Linden Vineyards 2006 Hardscrabble Red (SRP $40): This Cabernet Sauvignon-based blended wine is medium-bodied, supple, and rather streamlined. It offers up a delightful mélange of red berry compote, sun-dried tomatoes, savory herbs, and spice box flavors that are held together by a well-focused frame of firm acidity; a Linden trademark. Rustic yet charming, this is an excellent food wine; especially with earthy dishes. For my readers unfamiliar with the wines of Virginia, this producer is an excellent place to start. You can expect well-made, 100% estate-grown red and white wines that are long-lived and acid-driven as opposed to flavor-driven. Only 454 cases of this wine were produced. Region: Fauquier County, Virginia. Other info: ABV 13.5%, 61% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot, 11% Petit Verdot and 11% Cabernet Franc, unfined & unfiltered, matured 18 months in new and used French and Hungarian oak barrels, cork enclosure. Click here to find this wine.
|Truro Vineyards 2014 Cabernet Franc|
Truro Vineyards 2014 Cabernet Franc (SRP $17.99): What a pleasant [estate-grown] surprise from Cape Cod, Massachusetts. This wine is lean, fruit-forward and easy-drinking with well-balanced, yet round acids supporting black raspberry and high-toned red berry fruit aromas and flavors. A dusting of black pepper and baking spice caps off this enjoyable sipper. This is your go-to wine for red sauce dishes, pizza, and grilled burgers. Region: Truro, Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Other info: ABV 12.5%, matured 18 months in used American oak barrels, cork enclosure. Click here to find this wine.
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