Featured Post – Exploring the World’s Greatest Wine Regions
Exploring the world’s greatest wine regions…
France, Italy and Spain are the top three wine countries in the world, producing almost half of the world’s wine – but that doesn’t necessarily mean you should only visit wine regions within these countries. Wine is produced all over the world and so it can be very difficult to decide where to go to sample to the best wines on holiday, especially if you’re a beginner whose passion for wine has only just begun. Here Columbus Direct takes a look at some of world’s greatest wine regions and what you can expect from each one…
It is likely that even the most novice of wine lovers know that Bordeaux is generally considered one of, if not the greatest wine region in the world. Bordeaux boasts around 284,320 acres of vineyards, producing a huge variety of grapes including Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. If you’re a lover of red wine in particular, you certainly won’t be disappointed, as around 75 to 80 per cent of the wine produced there is red. Bordeaux is also famous for making some of the most expensive and prized wines – though that doesn’t mean you have to spend a lot when you’re over there. Wine tours are pretty inexpensive and there are plenty of wines available at reasonable prices, so don’t think it’s out of your price range.
Napa Valley, California
Napa Valley is considered to house the greatest collection of wineries in America, despite the fact it only produces around four per cent of California’s wine. Size wise, the region is about an eighth of the size of Bordeaux, yet there are around 220 wine producers here and around 95 per cent of them are family-run businesses. Napa Valley creates a wide variety of premium grapes – including Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Zinfandel and Merlot, among others. There are certainly enough different types here to keep wine lovers of all kinds happy.
Maipo Valley, Chile
Maipo Valley is the most established wine region in Chile, it’s most famous grape is Cabernet Sauvignon but Merlot and Pinot Noir grapes are also very good too. The wines here can really vary in flavour, depending on where they’re grown, so expect to experience anything from full-bodied to fruity and light wines here. They are excellent value too, as bottles tend to be very reasonably priced. Chile is know for producing great reds but white wine is also beginning to come into its own over there, which is good news for those who prefer white wine.
La Rioja, Spain
Located in North Spain, La Rioja is the countries capital for wine production. The majority of the wine produced here (three-quarters) is red, 15 per cent is rosé and ten per cent is white. The best red grape here is Tempranillo but La Rioja is also known for red Rioja, which is a blend of two or more different grapes. There is a real variety of wineries here, as there are over 600 of them and wines can range from reasonably priced to hugely expensive, so there’s something to suit everyone’s’ budget.
Tuscany is another one of Europe’s most well-known wine producers. Despite the soil being quite poor, Tuscany yields high quality grapes, as producers focus on quality instead of quantity. Over 80 per cent of the wine made here is red and the Sangiovese grape is the most famous grape of the region. Visitors should taste Chianti, one of Italy’s best wines and you should also look out for Brunello di Montalcino during winery tours – a rare but fairly expensive wine that worth trying if you can.
You may not often hear of German wine but Baden produces some really interesting and unique wines. It’s the third largest wine region in the country and delivers wines known for their strong flavour and low acidity. Red wine lovers should try their Pinot Noir and those who love white wine should sample Baden’s Pinot Gris and Muller Thurgau grapes. In addition to the great wine, Baden is a beautiful region occupied by warm and welcoming locals. Some of the smaller restaurants in the area perfectly pair their food to the local wine, so if you trying to find out what you should eat with German wine, Baden is the perfect place to do so.
Douro Valley, Portugal
Arguably the most beautiful wine region in the world, Douro Valley is famous for its Port and you simply must not leave without trying it. The region also produces some powerful red wines too, which are full of flavour and fairly rich. Both the port and red wines are made with the best grapes from the area, including Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca and Tinta Barroca. Due to Douro being quite mountainous, it can be a tricky terrain to navigate and the hot summer sun can take its toll, so make sure to have plenty of wine and port stops.
Whichever wine region you decide to visit on your travels, you’re sure to have a great time soaking up the local atmosphere and tasting some of the best wines in the world. Each of these wine regions is vastly different to the next, so it’s worth trying to visit as many of them – if you’re a real wine connoisseur though, just try not to buy more wine than you can drink.