My friend and I enjoy drinking and collecting wine, and both of us have dedicated wine cellars stocked with some great red and white drinking wines. As an investment for the future, we also keep some fine wines in a professional wine storage facility.
Our families often holiday together and invariably we choose destinations where we can sample the best quality wines. There are just 10 countries that produce 80% of the world’s wine, and so far, we’ve been to 6 of them. Over the next few years, we hope to visit the other 4 countries.
In a project with Artichoke, specialists in bespoke kitchens for country houses, I’ve taken a closer look at the top 10 wine producing regions in the world.
Most wine collectors will agree that France is the best wine producer in the world. The country has 10 major wine regions, each specialising in different wines. Alsace in the Northeast produces wonderful whites, while the Beaujolais region to the north of Lyon is famous for its reds.
The coldest of the regions is Champagne, known for its exceptional sparkling wines. Although other regions in France produce these, traditional champagne refers only to those wines made exclusively in the Champagne region.
Different Italian wines for the casual drinker and the wine connoisseur are produced in regions like Lombardy, Tuscany and Sicily. All-in-all, there are some 20 wine regions across Italy and, because of their geographic locations and different weather conditions, each one produces wines of a highly distinctive nature.
With over a million acres dedicated to vineyards, Spain is the third largest producer of wine. Over the last 10 years or so, the country’s top quality reds and delicious, crisp whites have attracted wine lovers from all over the world – the historic region of Rioja in central Spain is renowned for its amazing reds. Wines from Spain are more reasonably priced and therefore attract international wine buyers and collectors.
Although the USA is the fourth largest wine-producing country in the world, there’s one state that dominates: California. This region is responsible for 90% of the USA’s total wine production. The areas producing some of the USA’s finest wines are the Sonoma and the Napa regions of California.
Because of its growing reputation and strong international following, Argentina has recently become the fifth largest wine producing country in the world. Nestled in the foothills of the Andes is the Mendoza region – the largest wine producing area in the country. Because of its distinctive geographic properties the Mendoza region produces wines from grapes grown in vineyards at both high and low altitudes – the result is some top-class wines with unique and complex flavours.
Number six on the list is Germany, a country whose wines are exported primarily to the USA and the UK. Pinot Noir, or Spätburgunder, is the king of German reds and in the whites it’s the noble Riesling that rules. For some reason, German wines, especially Rieslings, are grossly undervalued. They’re a joy to drink when young, but even better after five years or so when they become beautifully complex.
One of the top producing regions is Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, with vineyards found on the steep-terraced hills overlooking the river. The best wines are made from the Riesling grape cultivar. Some of the other wine-growing regions in Germany include Piesporter, Zeller Schwarze, and the Bernkasteler vineyard, which many believe produces Germany’s finest wines.
Australia spent millions of dollars to build a brand around Shiraz –Australia’s word for Syrah. This ultimately paved the way for the tripling of their wine production. However, despite this success, Australian wines have suffered some drawbacks in the media with wine critics questioning the quality of wine produced. Australia relies primarily on the wine export market and, since the US dollar has weakened, they’ve expanded their wine market into Hong Kong and Asia.
- South Africa
South Africa’s vineyards are mostly situated in the Western Cape. There are nearly 250,000 acres of vines in 6 main regions in the Cape. The Stellenbosch Wine Route is one of the most popular tourist destinations in South Africa. Although well-known for its fine Chenin Blanc, South Africa also produces Pinotage, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, and Chardonnay.
The climate in Chile is midway between that of California and France, and the most common grapes are Carmenere, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. The red wine variety Carmenere is known as the ‘lost varietal’ of Bordeaux. Chile is the fourth leading wine exporter after France, Italy and Australia.
There are two main wine producing regions in Portugal: the Duoro Valley and Pico Island. Apart from its world-class Port wine, Portugal also produces a wide variety of superb wines, all with distinctive personalities.
In order to make your wine the best tasting and of the highest quality, you should also check into choosing the best wine aerator by visiting the site linked. If you are looking to add aroma and have the finest taste, then an aerator is necessary no matter which wine region you are visiting. Do your researching and gain a full understanding so that no matter where you are in the world, your wine will be aerated and ready to drink.