Where in the World Are the Best Wines?
If touring the world in search of the best wines is on your bucket list, we’ve got the perfect itinerary for you. Not only are the following six locales producing what is notably some of the world’s most delicious vintages, but they also happen to be heavenly places to visit. Wonderful wine plus stunning destinations? Sounds like paradise to us.
“Old World” Wine Regions
The wines produced in the original winemaking regions of the world are called “Old World Wine.” Generation after generation, the processes used to create these wines have remained largely the same. Old World Wine relies on tradition and terroir. (Terroir refers to specific qualities of a wine region that impact a wine’s flavor, such as soil, elevation, and climate.) This is why Old World Wines are named after the region in which they are grown, rather than after the type of grapes contained within the wine.
Old World Wine comes from Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East, including Israel, Croatia, Austria, France, Spain, and Italy, among others. The wines are generally smooth, acidic, high in tannins, and low in alcohol.
Located in central eastern France, Burgundy is renowned for its red Burgundy and white Burgundy wines. Red Burgundy is produced with 100% Pinot Noir grapes, while White Burgundy is made with 100% Chardonnay grapes. The wines’ flavor profiles vary. Red Burgundy is dry, full bodied, and replete with flavors of raspberry, blackberry, cherry, and spices. White Burgundy is crisp, dry, and offers notes of peach, citrus, apple, and fresh herbs.
World class wine is produced in the Tuscany region located in central Italy. The area is best known for its Chianti, made primarily with Sangiovese grapes and sometimes Canaiolo, Colorino, Cabernet Sauvignon, and even Merlot grapes. It is said that Chianti tastes of Italy with its notes of red fruits, dried herbs, balsamic vinegar, smoke, and game.
The region is also known for several red wines, most notably Carmignano with flavors of black cherry, blackberry, and pepper, as well as Elba Aleatico Passito with its nuances of red fruits, cinnamon, cloves, and dried fruit.
Rioja is the leading wine region in Spain. The most notable wines in the northern region are created with Tempranillo and Garnacha grapes. They are classified into three tiers—Crianza, Reserva, and Gran Reserva —which indicates their price from low to high. Rioja wines are medium to full-bodied, with high tannins, and are imbued with flavors of dark berries, plum, tobacco, and herbs.
“New World” Wine Regions
“New World Wine” tends to be full bodied, with lower acidity, higher alcohol levels, and more pronounced fruit flavors than Old World Wine. New World Wine regions include California, Washington, Oregon, Argentina, Chile, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.
New World Wines derive their names from the grapes used to produce them. New World Wine makers have broken away from traditional winemaking practices and turned to new processes and technologies to create their wine.
Napa Valley, California, USA
Just 90 minutes north of San Francisco, Napa Valley boasts a dry, Mediterranean climate that is ideal for growing wine grapes. The most popular wine to come from Napa is Cabernet Sauvignon with its flavors of black currant, plum, licorice, black cherry, raspberry, and sometimes even blueberry or blackberry. The red wine is dry, light, and fruity.
The leading wine-producing region in Argentina, Mendoza, is best known for its Chardonnay and Malbec wines. The Chardonnay produced here is fresh and crisp, and because it’s aged in oak barrels, it has a rich, complex taste.
Malbecs from Argentina have become increasingly popular throughout the world. The juicy, dark wine features plum flavors and lots of tannins which lend it both complexity and structure.
Colchagua Valley, Chile
Colchagua Valley lies just south of Santiago and is known for its popular Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay wines. The Cabernet Sauvignon contains juicy black cherry, plum, and smoked bell pepper flavors and has fewer tannins than Old World Cabs.
The Chardonnay from the region is acidic with notes of lemon, pineapple, baked peach, and meringue. The tropical fruit flavors of the region’s Chardonnay offer a creamy, spiced finish.
Traveling the world to sample some of the best wines coupled with fine cuisines, climates, and historical locations certainly sounds like a divine way to spend time. Whether you discover you prefer Old World Wine or New World Wine, the pleasure is definitely in the journey.