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asturias, chile, dão, itata, portugal, slovenia, spain -

In a wine world dominated by the same grape varieties made in more or less the same way, it’s always exciting to discover something different. More unusual, esoteric varieties are often connected to the history of a region, made by experimental mavericks, and stand out for the individuality of the wines. Take, for instance, Fran Ascencio and his Urogallo winery (named after a spectacular looking local bird) in Asturias in northern Spain. Asturias is a cool, wet, beautiful region, between Basque Country and Galicia, rising from the Atlantic Ocean into the Cantabrian mountains. It’s most famous for its cider as...

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Friulano, Goriška Brda, Hárslevelű, hungary, Nagy-Somló, Pesecká Leanká, slovakia, slovenia -

  Winemaking is shaped by politics, culture, and the market, as well as by nature. I’ve recently been tasting wines from central European countries whose wine industries are still recovering from communist rule. The neglect and lack of investment hurt the wine industries of these countries; at the same time, the wines retain traditional winemaking practices and local grape varieties, making them feel authentic and distinctive. This is an ideal moment to explore these wines and the history behind them. Hungary is most famous for Tokaji and its world-class sweet wine. In the twentieth century, such a prized, expensive wine...

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