Good red wine is available all over the world. But, great, quality red wine made with legendary grapes, and winemakers with a knowledge that exceeds time, can only be found in particular parts of the globe. In this article we will be taking a look at some of these regions, made famous for the luscious and astounding red wines that they have been producing for centuries.
Quite possibly the most famous region, France. Bordeaux is highly exalted in terms of the red wine it produces, 89% of all Bordeaux is red, among them are Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Merlot, and Malbec. Bordeaux also covers the most growing area in all of France with 120,000 hectares. The Rhône Valley region in the south of Franch, also contributes to French red wine in terms of its celebrated Syrah. St. Emilion is famous for its legendary Merlot grapes which are supported by Cabernet Franc leading to a wine that is unmatched in terms of its unique flavor. And not to be forgotten is the valley of Loire, situated on the river, and giving way to numerous soil types and climates, this region produces its ever-famous Cabernet Franc and bold Pinot Noir.
France however, shares its title of “largest wine producer in the world” with another country…Italy. Some of Italy’s colorful vineyards are the amongst the oldest in the world, and the people of Italy are the largest consumers of red wine (vino rosso) in the world. Literally, every region in Italy, has vines planted in it, and a wide variety of these grapes are only found in these particular areas. Abbruzo produces very soft and delicate wines, at very reasonable prices, leaving this area to cultivate excellent red table wines. Sicily is well known for its Marsala, and is beginning to gain strength and acknowledgment in terms of its Cabernet Sauvignon production. And then there is Tuscany, the home to Chianti, and also to young passionate winemakers, who thrive on producing the very best wine they can possibly make, by incorporating and experimenting with different blends… also known and referred to as, Super Tuscans.
Although, relatively new to the world of wine production, Argentina, South America, is also very well-known in terms of its Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot. Over 60% of the production of wine in the region, is red, and Argentina is the 5th largest producer of wine in the world, interestingly however, Argentina has only began producing wine since the beginning of the 1980’s, at the start of the Falkland’s war . Argentina is widely successful in terms of its vineyards, due to a location of high-altitude and low humidity, Argentina rarely has difficulties with its grapes in terms of mold, fungi, insects or other grape-affecting diseases, this makes for little or no usage of pesticides in the vineyards.
Suprisingly, our adventure takes us to the region of Chile. Chile boasts for a perfect climate for the growing of vines. In the Aconcagua Valley of Chile hail some of the finest red wines of the world, mainly Cabernet Sauvignon, from the Errazuriz estate, and also the Don Maximiano vineyard. Merlot and Carmenere are also grown within the region leading to growth in the nature of Syrah as well. Interesting to note, in regards to Carmenere, which was at one time quite popular in Bordeaux, the vine was thought lost after the phylloxera epidemic, however it was stumbled upon in the hills of a Merlot field in Chile and replanted, and is now making a superior comeback. Also of importance is within the Central Valley of Chile, in the Maule and Curico Valleys to be precise, where cool climates are abundant, provide key temperatures in terms of the growth of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
Next on our list, is South Africa, ranking in the Top Ten list of wine production. South African wine production dates to roughly, 1659, at one point boasting the most famous vineyard in the world, in Constantia, just outside of Cape Town. The vast majority of South Africa’s wine regions can be found at the country’s southern-most tip, which provides a cool breeze, which are in turn affected by the Benguela current that heads North from the Antartica, thus creating the perfect area for wine-production. Stellenbosch, is the the area most notable for its red wine production. It is quite warm in the area, however there is a long mountain range running through it that provides an ample spot to plant vines at the necessary altitude, and also allowing for moist and cooler climates. Next to Stellenbosch, lies Durbanville namely specializing in Cabernet Sauvignon, the best of which comes from an shale-area in the region of Malmesbury.
The “Land Down Under”, is our final stop aboard this adventure. Being ranked 4th in world wine production, brings a lot of attention, especially for being so new to the world of wine-making, only 150 years or so. Penfolds Grange is quite possibly the most famous of Australian red wines, flavored with Shiraz grapes, this wine holds a taste and essence all its own. Wolf Blas of Southern Australia, has a remakable Cabernet Sauvignon, carrying in its bold taste everything from mint to fruit this wine is less costly than Penfolds Grange, but holds true in flavor. Jacobs Creek, lies in Barrossa Valley, and is highly respected in terms of its red wine production as well. Their red wines are always described as holding the perfect balance of both favor and body.
Australia is also currently a leader in terms of organic and biodynamic wines, which is seeing ever-increasing demand in terms of production.
In closing, while you can take a trip around the world, and find fine wine wherever you are, to find the only the very best, takes some thought, study, and taste. All these regions hold their own remarkable wines, and with them a story to tell in how they are produced. All the wines in turn speak for themselves in terms of the essence and beauty the lies in your glass.