And for your drinking pleasure, would you prefer a Canadian pinot noir, a Belgian chardonnay, or perhaps an English sparkling white?
If you think you misheard the sommelier, take a sip of these seemingly unlikely suggestions. You may well get a delicious surprise. Today's wine list has expanded so far beyond the traditional terroir of Bordeaux and Burgundy that the latest edition of The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson is almost double the length of its first edition of 1971. Flip through the pages, and you'll find maps of such burgeoning wine-producing locales as Tasmania, China, and Slovenia.
The fact that so many new vineyards now flourish both farther north and farther south of the equator also could be a result of climate change. "Regions that are more poleward in both hemispheres are starting to produce better wines, and the reason is pretty straightforward," says climatologist and viticulture consultant Greg Jones of Southern Oregon University. Over the past 50 years, he says, areas whose climates were too cool or unpredictable for wine grape production have become warmer, with longer growing seasons and less risk of frost.
Up-and-coming wines on the atlas's recommended list include those from the Bio-Bio region of central Chile and Argentina's Patagonia, and don't forget those sparkling wines from England. In North America, look to the Pacific Northwest, says Jones, where Puget Sound "has a great future ahead." Already, vineyards there are producing tasty dry sparkling and dessert wines with the Madeleine Angevine vine. British Columbia's Okanagan Valley is another wine region on the rise; check out its pinot noir, cabernet franc, and chardonnay.