We asked Peter Richards MW to scour the New World regions and pick out the best value wines he’s come across of late. The resulting selection reveals some of the most intriguing, exciting and mould-breaking winemaking in the world today.
What defines ‘New World’? And what do we as wine lovers want and expect of it? These two questions merit pondering because the answers aren’t obvious and they challenge a fair few preconceptions.
Of course, on one level, the New World is all those territories outside Europe. But what about China, home to some of the most ancient civilisations on earth? The Middle East would seem to be in some sort of limbo territory.
Parts of South America have been making wine since the mid-16th century, many years longer than the grand châteaux of the Médoc. And then there are areas within the Old World that seem decidedly new wave…
In the end, I decided to keep things simple.
I compiled a shortlist (in reality not far off 200 wines) culled from well over 1,000 potential options tasted recently, and then whittled them down – agonisingly – to end up with this list of delectables. The focus was dry whites and reds under £30 (but the odd fizz and sweet has inevitably crept in) and I’ve tried to cover a range of price points, retailers, geographies and vintages.
For all of these wines I have been subservient to one overriding selection criterion: excitement. Wines that quicken the pulse. If the New World can be characterised by an emotion rather than geography, it is surely this: an exhilarating sense of discovery. The New World, remember, has liberty on its side. Freedom from history, tradition, rules and red tape… Anything goes.
So surely the one thing these wines should deliver is a real thrill, the elation of the new. That was what I sought in each and every one of these wines – and found it in abundance.
‘If the New World can be characterised by an emotion, it is surely an exhilarating sense of discovery’
Because, of course, there were far more wines that I wanted to include. There has never been a better time to drink New World wines.
The era of over-exuberance and a misplaced eagerness to please distant critics or markets seems, thankfully, to be coming to an end. All around the New World, forward-thinking producers are focusing on what makes their wines unique and different rather than predictable and uniform.
The confidence and excitement is palpable. Many of these wines veer into what might be termed ‘natural’ territory. I’m a cheery agnostic on this subject – I just want wines to refresh, delight and inform me. Life is too short for tedium or repetitious experiences.
So enjoy these 30 delicious, great-value wines with this simple aim in mind.