When exploring someplace new, sampling the local food and drink is always an exciting way to dive into the culture of the land. Wine tours are the best way to learn about the production of the world’s most fantastic wines. It is common knowledge that places like France and Italy produce some of the world’s most elegant wines, but there is a plethora of countries creating some of the best reds and whites for the ever discerning palate. Here is a list of some of the best wine regions in the world – perfect spots for drinks with a view!
Bourgogne or Burgundy, as we know it, is well known for producing incredible and aromatic wines. The red and whites from this region top the charts as some of the most expensive wines, and for good reason. While labeled Red Burgundy and White Burgundy, the wines are produced from 100% Pinot noir and Chardonnay grapes, respectively. These two wines are infused with the best flavors strictly because of the land on which the grapes were grown. Wine tours through this region encompass not just flavorful wines, but beautiful landscapes, as well.
In the Jura region, wines are produced with love and care. You’ve probably heard of the famous vin de paille or the vin jaune. The Jura and Côtes du Jura vineyards are characterised by three local grape varieties: poulsard (or plousard), savagnin, and trousseau. Vin Jaune is Jura’s gold… a unique wine in France, it was the specialty of Château- Chalon.
Vin de paille (literally, “straw wine”) gets its name from the bed of straw on which the grapes are dried – although today the grapes are likely to be suspended from the rafters or placed on wooden racks. At harvest, the best bunches of Poulsard, Trousseau, Savagnin and Chardonnay grapes are set aside for it. Once these grapes are dessicated and rich in sugar, they are pressed: the resulting elixir is aged for three years in oak barrels to coax out intense aromas of candied fruits, prune, quince, honey and pineapple. Typical alcohol content is 14°-17°. Can’t wait to sample some? We can’t either!
Piedmont is one of the two most popular regions of Italy known for its wine making (the other is, of course, Tuscany). Barbarulo and Baresco are the two types of red wines most commonly associated with Piedmont, but neither can be substituted for the other. Once again, land has everything to do with the difference in flavor. Barbarulo and Baresco get their distinct tastes because of the soil the grapes were grown in. Ultimately, Barbarulo has a much lighter taste than Baresco.
The common whites from this region include Moscato and Cortese. If you enjoy a bubbly, fruit infused wine, Moscato d’Asti is a perfect choice from the vineyards of Piedmont. For a more dry white, similar to that of Pinot gris, Cortese is the go-to for citrus-like flavors.
If you’re looking for Malbec, look no further than Mendoza, Argentina. This region accounts for two-thirds of Argentina’s wine production, making it a prime source for incredible wine. Mendoza is located in the eastern foothills of the Andes mountains which means these grapes are planted at some of the highest altitudes of the world (as high as 5,000 ft above sea level, to be exact!). With more than more than 1,500 wineries lavishly spread out through the three main wine regions – Lujan de Cuyo, Valle de Uco and Maipu – and the scenery – the combination is intoxicating, to say the least!
Napa Valley, California
When thinking of wine country, one often thinks of Napa Valley, and for good reason. The wine produced out of this region of the United States is by far some of the best out there. Red or white, Napa is sure to deliver full bodied Cabernets and deliciously smooth Chardonnays. Napa Valley is famous for its Cabernet Sauvignons.
There is no shortage of land in this region of California–in fact, there are hundreds of vineyards that offer wine tours in Napa Valley alone. These ancestral wineries are incredible destinations to enjoy wonderful wines with equally incredible views.
Heading south of the border? A stop for Colchagua is a stop for Chile’s infamous red wine. The most common wine produced here is the Carménère, a peppery red. The grape used to make the Carménère originated from Bordeaux, France. However, France’s climate could no longer support the production of this flavor filled fruit and it has since become the notable export of Colchagua. And then there are the stunning views…
La Rioja, Spain
The most renowned wine region, La Rioja is nestled in the northern part of Spain. There are more than 600 wineries in La Rioja, producing mainly Tempranillo based reds. The quality and cost of wines from this region range from quite affordable to some of the most expensive bottles of wine out there. Much like Colchagua, La Rioja was a safe haven for winemakers after phylloxera decimated French vineyards. Wine production took off in La Rioja as a result, producing the incredible reds known simply as Rioja.
Marlborough, New Zealand
In search of the greatest Sauvignon blanc? Look no further than Marlborough, New Zealand. Described as pure and tropical, Sauvignon blanc is the white wine that put New Zealand on the map. What makes the Sauvignon so sought after from this region? If it hasn’t been clear thus far: the soil, of course! Land has everything to do with the flavors infused into the grapes used to make the wine, and Marlborough is no exception. The stony soils of this region of New Zealand are responsible for the production of such exotic tasting wines. Wine tours in this region of New Zealand are sure to deliver a flavor filled experience.
Western Cape, South Africa
Surrounded by mountains, providing ample soil for some of the world’s most premium wines, is the Western Cape in South Africa. Here is where a variety of wines are produced, including reds made from Shiraz and whites from Sauvignon blanc. The oceans surrounding the Western Cape–the Indian and Atlantic–meet to create a regulatory climate that helps with the health of the vineyards throughout the cape.
Hunter Valley, Australia
The most commonly known region of wine production in Australia, Hunter Valley provides wine lovers everywhere with varieties like Shiraz, Chardonnay, Savignon blanc and Verdelho. The most well known product from this region, however, is the Semillon wine. There are over 150 wineries that offer wine tours in the Hunter Valley, leaving no shortage of opportunity to get a taste of the citrus whites and medium-bodied reds.
Willamette Valley, Oregon
Last, but certainly not least, is the Willamette Valley in Oregon. This region is over 150 miles long, making the largest in Oregon. Willamette Valley was the site of the first plantation of Pinot noir during a time when it was believed impossible to grow grapes in Oregon. Fast forward to today, Willamette Valley is recognized for its award winning Pinot noir, not to mention acclamation for its Chardonnay, Pinot gris and blanc.