The holiday season is one of the biggest wines sales and drinking periods of the year.  2023 represents a great time to try new wines.  Below is our thinking on what drink in the year ahead.

Georgian Wines

The growth of wines from the country of Georgia has been explosive.  Grape Experience and Commonwealth Wine School educator Erika Frey has become an expert on the Wines of Georgia and Lisa Granik, MW has literally written the book on the subject.  Try wines from the deep red and crisp Saperavi grape or the aromatic, tropical notes of the white wine Rkatsiteli.  Both of these grapes are now getting attention by US growers, particularly in New York’s Finger Lakes.

Unique Wines from Australia’s Hunter Valley Semillon and Yarra Valley

Most people think Barossa Shiraz or easy drinking wines like Yellowtail when they think Australia.  But there are some sensational styles that go well beyond these basics. In New South Wale’s Hunter Valley, northeast of Sydney, Semillon is king.  This crisp dry white wine comes in several different price points and styles and my top producer is Tyrrell’s This winery is family run and dates to the 19th century.  Their Semillon is dry, layered but still crisp and delicious.  Tyrrell’s also creates some of the best New World Chardonnay I have ever had.

In the Yarra Valley in the State of Victoria, northeast of Melbourne a group of young first-generation winemakers are also doing great things.  Look for Yarra Chardonnay, Riesling and Pinot Noir.  One of my favorite producers is Mac Forbes Wines  Mac makes all the standard varietals and is experimenting with varieties such as Nebbiolo and Aligote.  The care he and his team take shows in every sip.

Rueda and Zweigelt

Spain and Austria offer two other wines that we recommend.  Rueda, a white wine made from the grape Verdejo is an unexpected treat for first time triers. The bright fruit from the ripe Duero Valley growing conditions is balanced by perfect crisp acidity, which is maintained in the grapes during the dramatic nighttime temperature drops.  Try the wines of Jorge Ordoñez  The company selects great smaller lot wines.

In Austria Zweigelt is prized as a red wine for its ability to pair with just about any food or to drink as a stand-alone beverage.  It has vibrant red, black and blue berry, light tannins and grip acidity.  The variety is both easy to drink but also layered with flavor so that it stops you cold in a good way!  Erich Sattler wines makes a great Zweigelt

One of the best things about wine is how many varieties and producers are out there to try and the constant innovation in wines and winemaking.  Make 2023 a year to taste something new!