To become a classic a wine has to be superb, of course, but it also has to play a crucial role in building an up-and-coming region’s reputation. Here, three that qualify.

2005 Niepoort Charme ($98)

Douro Valley, Portugal

In the past few years, Portugal’s Douro Valley region has become a source for great dry reds (as opposed to Port, for which it has long been known). In large part that’s thanks to Dirk Niepoort and his ambitious wines, like this dark-fruited, tea-scented bottling; it’s a blend of several traditional Portuguese varieties.

2006 Descendientes de José Palacios Villa de Corullón ($40)

Bierzo, Spain

Winemaking superstar Alvaro Palacios and his nephew Ricardo Perez arrived in Spain’s Bierzo region in 1998. Since then this wine—which tastes of wild berries, like a Spanish alternative to great Pinot Noir—has offered proof of the region’s tremendous potential.

2006 Felton Road Block 3 Pinot Noir ($63)

Central Otago, New Zealand

New Zealand’s Central Otago Pinot Noirs, at their best, effortlessly balance lush New World fruit against a savory strength that recalls great Burgundy. Felton Road, founded in the early 1990s, is arguably the region’s top producer; this wine, from its home vineyard, is impeccably graceful and fragrant.

Wine Advice & Pairings:

American Wine Awards 2009
Best Recipes from Sommeliers
2007 Bodegas Caballo Listán Blanco ($18)

Anthony Giglio on Chilling Wine

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