If you love wine, then you love all the regions and countries that have produced it, and you’ve probably heard the phrase “wine regions” a few times before. But, have you ever heard of “Wine regions and communities”? Well, now you have. These are places where wines are created and then they are bottled, matured and sold, which means the people who live there have a significant impact on the process of making those vintages. We’ve rounded up six of these wine regions and communities around the country to give you a peek into what they are all about.
There’s a lot of talk at the moment about the ways that wine lists are “unrepresentative” and that the wine industry is lacking in diversity. One of the most interesting ideas to come out of this is that it’s not just the wine list—it’s everything.
We’ve all heard that men and women of different cultures and regions are attracted to different types of people, but we aren’t here to talk about attraction, we’re here to talk about wine.
Some restaurants take pleasure in their extensive, encyclopedic wine lists, while others specialize. These narrowed-down lists may emphasize a certain region or bottles produced by marginalized groups. Each allows wine enthusiasts and novices alike to delve into a certain area or style.
Here are six single-focus wine lists from restaurants around the country.
Wine from the Balkans
New York City’s Kafana
Kafana in New York City specializes in Balkan wines / Courtesy of Kafana
The wines at this Manhattan Serbian restaurant hail almost exclusively from the countries of the former Yugoslavia: Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, North Macedonia and Montenegro.
Movia from Slovenia, Milo from Croatia, and Zvonko Bogdan from Serbia are among the big hitters on the list.
Other standouts include Serbian winemaker Nikola Mladenovic Matalj’s Kremen Kamen Cabernet Sauvignon, Croatian winery Enjingi’s crisp white Graevina, and Montenegro’s Plantae’s barrel-aged Vranac.
Clai, Gravner, Kabaj, Dario Prini, and other Slovenian and northeastern Italian orange wines are not only a study in the region’s shifting boundaries, but also a possible master lesson in Old World natural wines beyond Georgia.
Wine with a German accent
Funkenhausen offers wines from German-speaking nations and areas / Funkenhausen / Funkenhausen / Funkenhausen / Funkenhausen / Funkenhausen / Funkenhausen / Funkenhausen / Funken
According to Joseph Carnahan, the general manager/wine director of this West Town beer hall, Roter Veltliner, an indigenous Austrian white grape, is one of the few locations in Chicago that serves it.
Cabernet Dorio, Gemischter Satz, and a variety of Rieslings are among the wines on the list, which concentrates on grapes and bottlings from German-speaking nations and areas. Carnahan often offers two different varieties produced from the same grape to demonstrate their flexibility for individuals interested in extending their German-accented wine expertise.
Wine from Mexico
Chicago’s Sótano Bar
Bar with a Modern Look Sótano’s limited menu of tacos, shellfish, and Mexican-style bar cuisine is matched by an even more carefully selected wine list.
A 2019 Manaz Blanco from Casa Magoni Winery in Valle de Guadalupe, the only white wine on the list, is a combination of Viognier and Fiano. A 2017 Paoloni Cabernet-Merlot mix and a 2016 Nebbiolo from Topolovino Baja, both from Valle de Guadalupe, are among the red wines. Rosé fans may enjoy a glass of Tacha, a Grenache rosé from Aborigen Winery in the Ojos Negros Valley, with their Sótano Burger or Huitlacoche Sopes.
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Although the list is short, it is a tremendous celebration of Mexican wine.
Wineries Run by Women
New York City’s Dirt Candy
Dirt Candy offers wines produced by women/ Courtesy of Dirt Candy
Dirt Candy exclusively sells bottles from wineries run by women, including female owners, vineyard managers, and winemakers.
“Another way to look at it is that we prefer to offer wines from the finest vineyards we can find, and fortunately for us, a lot of them are owned by women,” says beverage director Michael Cherry.
The Dirt Candy list is updated on a regular basis. Cherry exclaims, “There are so many woman winemakers to be thrilled about.” “Martha Stoumen and Brianne Day, as well as Megan Bell of Margins Wine, Elisabetta Foradori, Valerie Tissot, Sybille Kuntz, and Claire Naudin, are regulars on our list. In every appellation, there are women producing excellent wines.”
Wines from Washington State
Walla Walla, WA’s Marcus Whitman Hotel
California and Oregon bottlings often steal the show when it comes to West Coast wines. However, this Walla Walla hotel showcases what Washington State, the country’s third-largest wine producer, has to offer.
Marty Clubb of Columbia Valley’s L’Ecole No 41 created two trademark white wines for the hotel’s restaurant and Vineyard Lounge: a barrel-fermented Chardonnay and a Bordeaux-style mix. Poet’s Leap, Dusted Valley, and Lodmell Cellars from Columbia Valley are among the other Washington wineries on the menu. Pepper Bridge Winery, Lagana Cellars, and Tertulia Cellars are among the Walla Walla Valley’s wineries.
Wines from the Republic of Georgia
Washington, D.C.-based Supra
Supra offers a Georgian wine flight.
In 2017, when Jonathan & Laura Nelm prepared to open Supra, “we got a lot of advice about not concentrating too much on Georgian wine,” says Jonathan. Luckily, they chose to ignore it and built a wine list that celebrates the country’s 8,000-year-old winemaking history.
Shumi Winery, Shaulari Cellars, and Dakishvili Family Vineyards are among Supra’s qveri-aged “amber wine” choices. Rkatsiteli and Saperavi grapes from Georgia are also available in a variety of expressions.
According to Jonathan, the Nelms and their staff “enjoy utilizing the wines and cuisine to expose visitors to Georgia in general.” “While most of our visitors are aware that such a nation exists, there are still those who are unfamiliar with the country and its culture. The wine is an eye-opening, delectable, and entertaining way to begin the conversation.”
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