Everyone loves a great Napa Cab or Sauvignon Blanc from Sancerre, but lately, our LEYE Wine Directors have their sights on off-the-beaten-path wine regions. We take an inside look at the wine regions that are on the rise, from gorges that straddle states, grapes hailing from the Canary Islands, varietals from our northern neighbors in Canada, and more!
Finger Lakes, New York
Kevin Bratt, Wine Director of Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab, has been crazy about this upstate region for over a decade! Cabernet Franc rules this region – and happens to be one of Kevin’s favorite varietals – and is easy drinking, fruit forward and just a great everyday wine.
Lake County, California
Richard Hanauer of RPM Italian and RPM Steak jaunts north of Napa to Lake County’s Clear Lake where strong vignerons like Claude Koeberle and Philippe Melka are making wine in separate AVAs that take advantage of the warm days and cooler nights. And, the value of the region is astronomical in comparison to wines from the famous surrounding areas.
Kevin does not shy away from wines from our northern neighbors, from the wildly popular icewine from Inniskillin in the Niagara Peninsula to the wide array of unique varietals from Okanagan Valley of B.C. In particular, Kevin loves the fresh and lively Norman Hardie Chardonnay from Prince Edward County because of its aromatic notes of lime and citrus, it’s a perfect Chardonnay alongside oysters.
Ghemme & Gattinara, Italy
When looking for unique Italian wines, Richard likes to head northeast towards the Lombardi border in the Ghemme and Gattinara regions. These regions are on opposite sides of the Seisa river and display characteristics similar to Barolo – structure, earthy, rustic – but often at a fraction of the price.