High Spirits

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Features

Where Lake Tahoe, Calif.

What's notable

Go for the original Zin: Zinfandel vines dating to the 1870s still flourish in the Sierras. Key words to look for on wine labels are "old vine" and "dry farmed" (meaning not irrigated)—which yield the most flavor.

Top Labels

Montevina (montevina.com); Renwood (renwood.com)Info Amador Vintners' Association, 888-655-8614; amadorwine.com

Where

Valais, Switzerland

What's notable Throughout the country, the dominant white grape is the Chasselas, which produces fresh, dry, fruity wines. Dôle, Switzerland's best red, blends pinot noir and gamay, and comes from the Valais, home to several resorts including Verbier and Saas Fee.

Top Label Rouvinez Dôle de Sierre (rouvinez.com)Info Switzerland Tourism, 877-794-8037; myswitzerland.com

Where Okanagan Valley, B.C.

What's notable The Okanagan Valley (near ski areas such as Big White and Apex) is known for ice wine, a late-harvest dessert wine made by pressing grapes (typically Riesling) that have frozen on the vine and are harvested by hand.

Top Labels Sumac Ridge Estate (sumacridge.com); Summerhill Estate Winery (summerhill.bc.ca)Info British Columbia Wine Institute, 800-661-2294; winebc.com

Where Albuquerque, N.M.

What's notable The oldest wine-growing region in the U.S. (dating to the 1600s), New Mexico also ranks as one of the highest, with vineyards above 4,000 feet. Thanks to its warm days, cool nights and lack of humidity, the Land of Enchantment produces first-rate sparkling wines near Albuquerque, three hours from Taos Ski Valley.

Top Label Award-winning Gruet sparkling wine (gruetwinery.com) Info New Mexico Wine Growers Association, 866-494-6366; nmwine.net

November 2005