10 Award-Winning Wines You've Never Heard Of

Whether you know a Burgundy from Bordeaux or a Rioja from Chianti, you're probably aware that they are great wine-producing regions and you may have tried a glass or two. If New World wines are your thing, California, Australia, Chile, and New Zealand have become known for the quality of their wines. 

But the "old" and "new" worlds have recently been joined by a number of emerging wine regions in Asia, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe. This year, the Decanter World Wine Awards—the world's biggest with more than 12,000 entries—awarded coveted medals to a number of wines from regions you may never have heard of and are unlikely to have tried. 

So what wines could be gracing our tables in future? Check out a few below, or see the full list of 10 Award-Winning Wines here.


Orovela, Saperavi, Kakheti, Georgia 2006

Type: Red Still 

U.K. Price: £15.99    

This heavy red comes from a country with a viticulture tradition that is said to go back more than 8,000 years and won a silver medal at the 2011 Decanter Awards. The judges said: 

"Saperavi is one of Georgia's most famous varietals. Meaning 'paint' or 'dye' in the local dialect, it's no surprise that this is dark and lustrous, with forward, open aromas of red fruits and vegetal notes, plus hints of oak and coconut. Rich, concentrated and long with firm tannins on the palate, this is aging well."


Granmonte, Heritage Syrah, Khao Yai, Thailand 2009

Type: Red Still 

Thai energy drink Krating Daeng spawned global superbrand Red Bull, but the travel paradise of Thailand is not so well known for its wine. Planting vines between canals is a popular way of cultivating wine grapes in Thailand to ensure they stay alive in a hot and humid climate. A number of wineries, many with French experts at the helm, have sprung up in Thailand. Unsurprisingly, Thai wines are said to complement the nation's spicy cuisine.   

This silver medal winning red was described as a "surprisingly complex take on this Rhône varietal, showing depth and concentration of red currants with tasty vanilla oak to support, rounded off by fresh acidity and soft, ripe tannins," by Decanter's Asian wine experts.



He Lan Qing Xue, Jia Bei Lan, Ningxia, China 2009

Type: Red Still   

Moet Hennessy and Pernod Ricard have targeted the remote northwestern region of Ningxia for their Chinese wine producing operations, and the world's biggest importers of French Bordeaux wines have produced an award-winning Bordeaux of their own there.   

The Asian judging panel at the Decanter World Wine Awards, chaired by Ch'ng Poh Tiong, founder of the International Congress of Chinese Cuisine and Wine and author of the world's first guide to Bordeaux in Chinese described this wine as "stunning," "medium-bodied, supple and ripe but not flashy."   

"There's some delightful, leafy black fruit with exciting minty perfume. Bordeaux-like restraint with excellent length and four square tannins, this could age for five to six years," they added.


Ridgeview, Grosvenor Chardonnay, Sussex, England 2007

Type: White Sparkling 

U.K. Price: £24.99 

"English sparkling wine in particular is having a tremendous success and really has impressed us greatly at these awards," Sarah Kemp, managing editor at Decanter told CNBC.com. English wine producers such as Ridgeview have successfully managed to produce all varieties of Champagne grapes in the U.K. in recent years.  Much of southern England has very similar soil to the Champagne region of France and the climate is not markedly different from its much more famous French counterpart. This multiple award-winning winery in the southeastern county of Sussex "proves that English sparkling wine can compete with Champagne," Kemp said.  

Click here for the full list of 10 Award-Winning Wines You're Never Heard Of.

—Antonya Allen, CNBC.com