A World of Value Wines
What are Value Wines ?
In my Quest of the Worlds Finest Value Wines. In my over 20 years experience in the Wine Industry I prided myself in Exploring the Wine World for those undiscovered grape varieties and off the beaten path wine regions to discover those little gems that screams Value Wines.
So what are Value Wines. Back in the 1990’s this meant wines retailing under $10.00 per bottle. Many of these wines came from unknown regions or varieties and that’s why they were considered Value Wines. My initial focus was on exploring the lesser known regions of France and Italy as they where popular countries.
Australia and Chile were also leaders in the Value category. By the 2000’s Argentina and Spain emerged as significant suppliers of Value Wines.
As new regions emerged to challenge the old regions, I would like to broaden the idea of Value Wines.
For example, the price increases of California Cabernet Sauvignon and in particular the Napa Valley have opened the door to new producers and new region. The combination of better wine making and grape growing in Australia, Chile, Argentina and Washington States now produces wines that match that of the Napa Valley and many other world class regions at a considerable savings.
The Best French Value Wines
The Muscadet’s of the Loire Valley, the Rieslings, Gewurztraminer’s and Pinot Gris’s of the Alsace region and the vast treasure trove known as the Languedoc-Rousssillon. This vast region covering nearly 750,000 acres is France’s Largest Region in both acres and wine produced. This region sits along the sunny Mediterranean benefiting from a great climate and very fertile soils which actually date back over 2500 years when the Roman Empire dominated much of Europe.
In the 1970’s a number of enterprising vintners took advantage of inexpensive lands prices to plant international varieties such as Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon , Merlot and Syrah to capture the growing market for affordable wines.
The downside of all these developments created the Wine Lake that the European Union had to purchase and ended up distilling it into industrial alcohol. While these wines were given the lowest quality rank by the French Government Vins de Pays. In 2009 this designation was replaced by “IGP” or “Indication Geographique Protegee” which means Protected Geographical Region. Today there are also stricter production limits designed to limit over production.