World's Top Local Wines
Courtesy of Chateau St. Jean
Some of the world’s best wines don’t ever leave home.
When it comes to
wine, choosing a locally produced bottle isn’t just a way to reduce its carbon
footprint. It turns out that some of the world’s most dynamic wines don’t stray
far from the vine. In fact, roadside bodegas and local restaurants are
sometimes the only places to track down some of these eclectic varietals.
the best of everyone’s wine, but in other countries, more traditional
wine-producing regions have developed their own local taste. And it makes the
experience of traveling to a destination all the more worthwhile. “People who
travel typically want to immerse themselves in as many different aspects of that
area as possible, and wine is one way to do that,” says Travel + Leisure wine editor, Bruce Schoenfeld. “Some of these local varieties are really quirky
Another benefit of sampling regional
wines? They often come at bargain prices—if you know what you’re looking for.
One example is
Spain’s aromatic white wine Verdejos, a local alternative to the country’s
better-known export wine, Albariño. Albariño can be a pricey option, but
locals—and travelers in the know—seek out Verdejo, a light-bodied varietal
affordable enough for everyday consumption.
local wines doesn’t necessarily mean bringing your passport. Travelers to
Seattle and Portland should keep an eye out for well-priced Merlot from
Washington’s eastern wine regions. Boutique producers like Hightower and Januik
don’t produce enough cases to place their bottles on big-city restaurant wine
lists, but the locals are happy to keep it to themselves.
Merlots, which are the American reference point, are sort of dense and thick,”
says Schoenfeld. “With Washington Merlots, the fruit is just bright.” They can
even save you some money: while equivalent California Merlots are often priced
well above $30, Januik’s Columbia Valley Merlot sells for $25 a bottle.
you’re looking to discover some trattoria wines for your next Italian sojourn
or searching for vintage steals for an upcoming cellar purchase, here are the
can’t-miss bottles to try when traveling. —Nina Fedrizzi