INTERNATIONAL FINE WINES

What do a Spanish conquistador, the Dutch East India Company, the British First Fleet, a missionary and a railway have in common? The answer is that they all played a part in establishing the vineyards of the New World of "International Fine Wines". Hernan Cortes planted vines in Mexico in 1522; Dutch colonists introduced them to the Cape in 165...

What do a Spanish conquistador, the Dutch East India Company, the British First Fleet, a missionary and a railway have in common? The answer is that they all played a part in establishing the vineyards of the New World of "International Fine Wines". Hernan Cortes planted vines in Mexico in 1522; Dutch colonists introduced them to the Cape in 1655; Captain Arthur Phillip, the first governor of New South Wales and a keen amateur gardener, tried his luck with a few cuttings at Sydney Cove in 1788; Samuel Marsden brought vines and a prayer book from Australia to New Zealand in 1819; and the completion of the railway line from Buenos Aires to Mendoza in 1885 transformed the production of Argentine wines.

The link between convict ships and a bottle of Hunter Valley Chardonnay might , seem slight, but the New World's present is securely tethered to its past. Though we think of the New World as a place brimming with fashionable modern ideas, its vineyards have been around for a long time. Areas such as Constantia in South Africa and Baja California in Mexico have venerable winemaking traditions. Similarly, Pais in Chile, Criolla in Argentina and Mission in California are all descended from a grape variety first imported by the conquistadors.Nevertheless, compared to the Old World winemaking countries of Europe, the Middle East and the Mediterranean, where grape varieties have been cultivated since antiquity, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and North and South America are viticultural parvenus. In vinous terms, all these countries bear the badge of European origin, although each of them has developed inimitable specialities of its own.It was a combination of conquest, migration and exploration which carried European vines from the harbours of Portsmouth, Amsterdam and Seville to the countries of the New World. Sooner or later, they were all colonised by vine-bearing European settlers. Most of these countries are situated in the Southern Hemisphere.

The exception is North America, where many winemakers feel a closer affinity with France and Italy than they do with Australia or South Africa. 'Beaune in the USA, the tongue-in-cheek slogan adopted by the Napa Valley's Saintsbury winery, has a semi-serious side, too. Ironically, it was California which launched the modern New World boom. When Robert Mondavi set up his attractive Napa Valley winery in 1966, complete with a public tasting room and a Spanish, colonial-style courtyard, it was the first building of its kind since the gloomy days of Prohibition.

There had been other New World pioneers - at Penfolds in Australia, Max Schubert had been making Grange  Hermitage, albeit in the face of considerable criticism, since the early 1950s; and at Beaulieu in the Napa Valley, Andre Tchelistcheff had produced some wonderful Cabernet Sauvignons - but Mondavi's new venture was crucial to the self-esteem of New World wines.

The success of his first Cabernet Sauvignon, followed by the invention of a new style of barrel-fermented Sauvignon Blanc, called Fume Blanc, set new standards for California. Mondavi's lead was followed by other winemakers, such as Ric Forman at Sterling, Warren Winiarski at Stag's Leap, Mike Grgich at Chateau Montelena, Dick Graff at Chalone, Paul Draper at Ridge, Joe Heitz at Heitz Wine Cellars and expatriate Frenchman, Bernard Portet, at Clos du Val. California began to raise its sights. Instead of apologising for the origin of their wines, the new breed of Californian winemakers were actively proud of it. 

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  • Argentina

    Argentina is the fifth largest producer of wine in the world. Argentine wine, as with some aspects of Argentine cuisine, has its roots in Spain. During the Spanish colonization of the Americas, vine cuttings were brought to Santiago del Estero in 1557, and the cultivation of the grape and wine production stretched first to neighboring regions, and then to other parts of the country.

    Historically, Argentine winemakers were traditionally more interested in quantity than quality with the country consuming 90% of the wine it produces (45 liters per year or 12 U.S. gallons per year per capita according to 2006 figures). Until the early 1990s, Argentina produced more wine than any other country outside Europe, though the majority of it was considered unexportable. However, the desire to increase exports fueled significant advances in quality. Argentine wines started being exported during the 1990s, and are currently growing in popularity, making it now the largest wine exporter in South America. The devaluation of the Argentine peso in 2002 further fueled the industry as production costs decreased and tourism significantly increased, giving way to a whole new concept of enotourism in Argentina.

    The most important wine regions of the country are located in the provinces of Mendoza, San Juan and La Rioja. Salta, Catamarca, Río Negro and more recently southern Buenos Aires are also wine producing regions. The Mendoza province produces more than 60% of the Argentine wine and is the source of an even higher percentage of the total exports. Due to the high altitude and low humidity of the main wine producing regions, Argentine vineyards rarely face the problems of insects, fungi, molds and other grape diseases that affect vineyards in other countries. This allows cultivating with little or no pesticides, enabling even organic wines to be easily produced.

    There are many different varieties of grapes cultivated in Argentina, reflecting the country's many immigrant groups. The French brought Malbec, which makes most of Argentina's best known wines. The Italians brought vines that they called Bonarda, although Argentine Bonarda appears to be the Douce noir of Savoie, also known as Charbono in California. It has nothing in common with the light fruity wines made from Bonarda Piemontese in Piedmont. Torrontés is another typically Argentine grape and is mostly found in the provinces of La Rioja, San Juan, and Salta. It is a member of the Malvasia group that makes aromatic white wines. It has recently been grown in Spain. Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Chardonnay and other international varieties are becoming more widely planted, but some varieties are cultivated characteristically in certain areas.

  • Austria

    Austrian wines are mostly dry white wines (often made from the Grüner Veltliner grape), though some sweeter white wines (such as dessert wines made around the Neusiedler See) are also produced. About 30% of the wines are red, made from Blaufränkisch (also known as Lemberger, or as Kékfrankos in neighbouring Hungary), Pinot noir and locally bred varieties such as Zweigelt. Four thousand years of winemaking history counted for little after the "antifreeze scandal" of 1985, when it was revealed that some wine brokers had been adulterating their wines with diethylene glycol. The scandal destroyed the market for Austrian wine and compelled Austria to tackle low standards of bulk wine production, and reposition itself as a producer of quality wines. The country is also home to Riedel, makers of some of the most expensive wine glasses in the world. Some of the best producers of Austria include Weingut Bründlmayer, Weingut F.X. Pichler and Weingut Franz Hirtzberger, Weingut Hutter, Weingut Eigl and Wellanschitz.

    Grüner Veltliner is the dominant white grape in Austria, producing generally dry wines ranging from short-lived Heuriger wines to Spätleses capable of long life. The ancient Welschriesling variety is used in the noble rot dessert wines of the Neusiedlersee; it also makes undistinguished dry wines for drinking young, as does Müller-Thurgau (Rivaner). Neuburger was supposedly found as flotsam in the Danube in the 1850s, but is now known to be a cross between Silvaner and the ancient Roter Veltliner. Frühroter Veltliner is also known as Malvasier, suggesting a link to the Malvasia grape family of the Eastern Mediterranean. Muscat Ottonel is used in dessert wines from the Neusiedlersee, as is Bouvier, which is related to the muscat family and is a parent of the Orémus (Zéta) grape used in Tokaji. There were high hopes for Goldburger, a cross between Welschriesling and Orangetraube bred in Klosterneuburg, but after an initial wave of planting, enthusiasm has dimmed. Zierfandler (Spätrot) and Rotgipfler are local grapes of the Thermenregion, and are often blended together as Spätrot-Rotgipfler. It is worth noting that Pinot gris is known as Ruländer in Austria, and sometimes as Grauburgunder; Pinot blanc is known as Weißburgunder or Weissburgunder, and Sauvignon blanc is called Muskat Sylvaner. Riesling plays a much smaller role than in Germany, but the relatively small amount grown is used for some of Austria's most appreciated dry white wines.

    Zweigelt (sometimes called Zweigeltblau, a Blaufränkisch × St. Laurent cross) and Blauburger (Blaufränkisch × BlauerPortugieser) were bred at Klosterneuburg in the 1920s and now account for nearly half of Austria's red wine. The former can be made into powerful wines for ageing, the latter is easier to grow and is generally blended; both are also made into a lighter style for drinking young.

    Blaufränkisch and Blauer Portugieser are the traditional red grapes of the region, being part of the blend of Hungary's Egri Bikavér. The former is the more "serious" variety, Blauer Portugieser produces fresh, fruity red wines for drinking young. Saint Laurent came from France in the mid-19th century, and seems to have substantial Pinot noir (Blauerburgunder) parentage; St Laurent has a reputation for being problematic to grow, but can produce good quality wine. Blauer Wildbacher is probably an indigenous wild grape variety, used to make a cult rosé called Schilcher in western Styria. Rössler is the latest variety to be bred at Klosterneuburg.

  • Chile

    Chilean wine has a long history for a New World wine region, as it was the 16th century when the Spanish conquistadors brought Vitis vinifera vines with them as they colonized the region. In the mid-19th century, French wine varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Carmenère and Franc were introduced. In the early 1980s, a renaissance began with the introduction of stainless steel fermentation tanks and the use of oak barrels for aging. Wine exports grew very quickly as quality wine production increased. The number of wineries has grown from 12 in 1995 to over 70 in 2005.

    A large number of French people immigrated to Chile during the late 20th century, bringing more vinicultural knowledge to the country. Chile is now the fifth largest exporter of wines in the world, and the seventh largest producer. The climate has been described as midway between that of California and France. The most common grapes are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Carmenère. So far Chile has remained free of the phylloxera louse, which means that the country's grapevines do not need to be grafted with phylloxera-resistant rootstocks.

    The climate is varied with the northern regions being very hot and dry compared to the cooler, wetter regions in the south. In the Valle Central around Santiago, the climate is dry with an average of 15 inches (38 centimeters) of rain and little risk of springtime frost. The proximity to the Dry Andes help create a wide diurnal temperature variation between day and nighttime temperatures. This cool drop in temperature is vital in maintaining the grapes' acidity levels.

    Most of Chile's premium wine regions are dependent on irrigation to sustain vineyards, getting the necessary water from melting snow caps in the Andes. In the developing wine regions along the Coastal Ranges and in the far south, there is not a lack in needed rainfall but vineyard owners have to deal with other factors such as the Humboldt Current from the Pacific which can bathe a vineyard with a blanket of cool air. For the rest of Chile's wine regions, the Coastal Ranges serve a buffer from the current and also acts as a rain shadow. The vineyards in these regions are planted on the valley plains of the Andes foothills along a major river such as the Maipo, Rapel and Maule Rivers.

    The vineyards of Chile fall between the latitudes of 32 and 38° s which, in the Northern Hemisphere would be the equivalent of southern Spain and North Africa. However the climate in Chile's wine regions is much more temperate than those regions, comparing more closely to California and Bordeaux. Overall, it is classified as a Mediterranean climate with average summer temperatures of 59–64 °F (15–18 °C) and potential highs of 86 °F (30 °C).

    There is not much vintage variation due to the reliability of favorable weather with little risk of summer time frost or harvest time rains. The main exception, again, is Casablanca due in part to its proximity to the Pacific. For the Chilean wine regions in the Valle Central, the Andes and Coastal Ranges create a rain shadow effect which traps the warm arid air in the region. At night, cool air comes into the area from the Andes which dramatically drops the temperature. This help maintain high levels of acidity to go with the ripe fruit that grapes develop with the long hours of uninterrupted sunshine that they get during the day. The result is a unique profile of flavonoids in the wine which some Chilean wineries claim make Chilean wines higher in resveratrol and antioxidants. Harvest typically begins at the end of February for varieties like Chardonnay with some red wine varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon being picked in April and Carmenère sometimes staying on the vine into May.

  • France

    French wine is produced all throughout France, in quantities between 50 and 60 million hectolitres per year, or 7–8 billion bottles. France is one of the largest wine producers in the world, along with Italian, Spanish, and American wine-producing regions.French wine traces its history to the 6th century BC, with many of France's regions dating their wine-making history to Roman times. The wines produced range from expensive wines sold internationally to modest wines usually only seen within France such as the Margnat wines were during the post war period.

    Two concepts central to the better French wines are the notion of terroir, which links the style of the wines to the locations where the grapes are grown and the wine is made and the Appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC) system, replaced by the Appellation d'Origin Protégée (AOP) system in 2012. Appellation rules closely define which grape varieties and winemaking practices are approved for classification in each of France's several hundred geographically defined appellations, which can cover regions, villages or vineyards.

    France is the source of many grape varieties (such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Pinot noir, Sauvignon blanc, Syrah) that are now planted throughout the world, as well as wine-making practices and styles of wine that have been adopted in other producing countries. Although some producers have benefited in recent years from rising prices and increased demand for some of the prestige wines from Burgundy and Bordeaux, the French wine industry has seen a decline in domestic consumption and internationally, it has had to compete with many new world wines.

    All common styles of wine – red, rosé, white (dry, semi-sweet and sweet), sparkling and fortified – are produced in France. In most of these styles, the French production ranges from cheap and simple versions to some of the world's most famous and expensive examples. An exception is French fortified wines, which tend to be relatively unknown outside France.

    In many respects, French wines have more of a regional than a national identity, as evidenced by different grape varieties, production methods and different classification systems in the various regions. Quality levels and prices vary enormously, and some wines are made for immediate consumption while other are meant for long-time cellaring.

    If there is one thing that most French wines have in common, it is that most styles have developed as wines meant to accompany food, be it a quick baguette, a simple bistro meal, or a full-fledged multi-course menu. Since the French tradition is to serve wine with food, wines have seldom been developed or styled as "bar wines" for drinking on their own, or to impress in tastings when young.

    Numerous grape varieties are cultivated in France, including both internationally well-known and obscure local varieties. In fact, most of the so-called "international varieties" are of French origin, or became known and spread because of their cultivation in France.[19] Since French appellation rules generally restrict wines from each region, district or appellation to a small number of allowed grape varieties, there are in principle no varieties that are commonly planted throughout all of France.

    Most varieties of grape are primarily associated with a certain region, such as Cabernet Sauvignon in Bordeaux and Syrah in Rhône, although there are some varieties that are found in two or more regions, such as Chardonnay in Bourgogne (including Chablis) and Champagne, and Sauvignon blanc in Loire and Bordeaux. As an example of the rules, although climatic conditions would appear to be favorable, no Cabernet Sauvignon wines are produced in Rhône, Riesling wines in Loire, or Chardonnay wines in Bordeaux. (If such wines were produced, they would have to be declassified to Vin de Pays or French table wine. They would not be allowed to display any appellation name or even region of origin.)

    Traditionally, many French wines have been blended from several grape varieties. Varietal white wines have been, and are still, more common than varietal red wines.

  • Germany

    German wine is primarily produced in the west of Germany, along the river Rhine and its tributaries, with the oldest plantations going back to the Roman era. Approximately 60 percent of German wine production is from the federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, where 6 of the 13 regions (Anbaugebiete) for quality wine are situated. Germany has about 103,000 hectares (252,000 acres or 1,030 square kilometers) of vineyard, which is around one tenth of the vineyard surface in Spain, France or Italy.The total wine production is usually around 10 million hectoliters annually, corresponding to 1.3 billion bottles, which places Germany as the eighth-largest wine-producing country in the world. White wine accounts for almost two thirds of the total production.

    As a wine country, Germany has a mixed reputation internationally, with some consumers on the export markets associating Germany with the world's most elegant and aromatically pure white wines while other see the country mainly as the source of cheap, mass-market semi-sweet wines such as Liebfraumilch.Among enthusiasts, Germany's reputation is primarily based on wines made from the Riesling grape variety, which at its best is used for aromatic, fruity and elegant white wines that range from very crisp and dry to well-balanced, sweet and of enormous aromatic concentration. While primarily a white wine country, red wine production surged in the 1990s and early 2000s, primarily fuelled by domestic demand, and the proportion of the German vineyards devoted to the cultivation of dark-skinned grape varieties has now stabilized at slightly more than a third of the total surface. For the red wines, Spätburgunder, the domestic name for Pinot noir, is in the lead.

    Germany produces wines in many styles: dry, semi-sweet and sweet white wines, rosé wines, red wines and sparkling wines, called Sekt. (The only wine style not commonly produced is fortified wine.) Due to the northerly location of the German vineyards, the country has produced wines quite unlike any others in Europe, many of outstanding quality. Between the 1950s and the 1980s German wine was known abroad for cheap, sweet or semi-sweet, low-quality mass-produced wines such as Liebfraumilch.

    The wines have historically been predominantly white, and the finest made from Riesling. Many wines have been sweet and low in alcohol, light and unoaked. Historically many of the wines (other than late harvest wines) were probably dry (trocken), as techniques to stop fermentation did not exist. Recently much more German white wine is being made in the dry style again. Much of the wine sold in Germany is dry, especially in restaurants. However most exports are still of sweet wines, particularly to the traditional export markets such as United States the Netherlands and Great Britain, which are the leading export markets both in terms of volume and value.

    Red wine has always been hard to produce in the German climate, and in the past was usually light-colored, closer to rosé or the red wines of Alsace. However recently there has been greatly increased demand and darker, richer red wines (often barrique-aged) are produced from grapes such as Dornfelder and Spätburgunder, the German name for Pinot noir.

    Perhaps the most distinctive characteristic of German wines is the high level of acidity in them, caused both by the lesser ripeness in a northerly climate and by the selection of grapes such as Riesling, which retain acidity even at high ripeness levels.

    The wine regions in Germany usually referred to are the thirteen defined regions for quality wine. The German wine industry has organised itself around these regions and their division into districts. However, there are also a number of regions for the insignificant table wine (Tafelwein) and country wine (Landwein) categories. Those regions with a few exceptions overlap with the quality wine regions. To make a clear distinction between the quality levels, the regions and subregions for different quality level have different names on purpose, even when they are allowed to be produced in the same geographical area.


    There are thirteen German defined regions ("Anbaugebiete") in Germany:

    1. Ahr – a small region along the river Ahr, a tributary of Rhine, that despite its northernly location primarily produces red wine from Spätburgunder.
    2. Baden – Germany's southernmost, warmest and sunniest winegrowing region, in Germany's southwestern corner, across river Rhine from Alsace, and the only German wine region situated in European Union wine growing zone B rather than A, which results in higher minimum required maturity of grapes and less chaptalisation allowed.Noted for its pinot wines – both red and white. The Kaiserstuhl region in the winegrowing region of Baden is Germany's warmest location. One of two wine regions in the federal state of Baden-Württemberg.
    3. Franconia or Franken – around portions of Main river, and the only wine region situated in Bavaria. Noted for growing many varieties on chalky soil and for producing powerful dry Silvaner wines. In Germany, only Franconia and certain small parts of the Baden region are allowed to use the distinctive flattened Bocksbeutel bottle shape.
    4. Hessische Bergstraße (Hessian Mountain Road) – a small region in the federal state Hesse dominated by Riesling.
    5. Mittelrhein – along the middle portions of river Rhine, primarily between the regions Rheingau and Mosel, and dominated by Riesling.
    6. Mosel – along the river Moselle (Mosel) and its tributaries, the rivers Saar and Ruwer, and was previously known as Mosel-Saar-Ruwer. The Mosel region is dominated by Riesling grapes and slate soils, and the best wines are grown in dramatic-looking steep vineyards directly overlooking the rivers. This region produces wine that is light in body due to lower alcohol levels, crisp, of high acidity and with pronounced mineral character. The only region to stick to Riesling wine with noticeable residual sweetness as the "standard" style, although dry wines are also produced.
    7. Nahe – around the river Nahe where volcanic origins give very varied soils. Mixed grape varieties but the best-known producers primarily grow Riesling, and some of them have achieved world reputation in recent years.
    8. Palatinate or Pfalz – the second largest producing region in Germany, with production of very varied styles of wine (especially in the southern half), where red wine has been on the increase. The northern half of the region is home to many well-known Riesling producers with a long history, which specialize in powerful Riesling wines in a dry style. Until 1995, it was known in German as Rheinpfalz.
    9. Rheingau – a small region at a bend in the Rhine that provide excellent conditions for winegrowing. The oldest documented references to Riesling come from the Rheingau region and it is the region where many German winemaking practices have originated, such as the use of Prädikat designations. Dominated by Riesling with some Spätburgunder. The Rheingau Riesling style is in-between Mosel and the Palatinate and other southern regions, and at its finest combines the best aspects of both.
    10. Rheinhessen or Rhenish Hesse – the largest production area in Germany. Once known as Liebfraumilch land, but a quality revolution has taken place since the 1990s. Mixed wine styles and both red and white wines. The best Riesling wines are similar to Palatinate Riesling – dry and powerful. Despite its name, it lies in the federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, not in Hesse.
    11. Saale-Unstrut – one of two regions in former East Germany along the rivers Saale and Unstrut, and Germany's northernmost winegrowing region.
    12. Saxony or Sachsen – one of two regions in former East Germany, in the southeastern corner of the country, along the river Elbe in the federal state of Saxony.
    13. Württemberg – a traditional red wine region, where grape varieties Trollinger (the region's signature variety), Schwarzriesling and Lemberger outnumber the varieties that dominate elsewhere. One of two wine regions in the federal state of Baden-Württemberg.
    These thirteen German regions (Anbaugebiete) are broken down into 39 districts (Bereiche) which are further broken down into collective vineyard sites (Großlagen) of which there are 167. The individual vineyard sites (Einzellagen) number 2,658.

  • Hungary

    Hungarian wine has a history dating back to the Kingdom of Hungary. Outside Hungary, the best-known wines are the white dessert wine Tokaji aszú (particularly in the Czech Republic, Poland, and Slovakia) and the red wine Bull's Blood of Eger (Egri Bikavér).

    The official list of wine regions is defined by a ministerial decree. The current list includes 22 wine regions, which are usually grouped into five to seven larger regions.

    Balaton, with sub-regions
    Badacsony: volcanic soils, full-bodied whites with considerable acidity. One of the few sources of Kéknyelű grapes.
    Balatonboglár: full-bodied whites and reds with moderate acidity.
    Balaton-felvidék: volcanic soils, full-bodied whites with considerable acidity.
    Balatonfüred-Csopak: terra rossa soils, full-bodied whites with considerable acidity.
    Nagy-Somló (or Somló): volcanic soil, full-bodied whites with high acidity. Main varieties are: Olaszrizling, Hárslevelű and Furmint.
    Zala: mainly white wines.
    The main variety of the region is Olaszrizling.

    Duna, with sub-regions
    Csongrád,
    Hajós-Baja,
    Kunság.

    Mainly fresh and light wines from lots of varieties.

    Grapes in an Upper Hungary vineyard.
    Eger, with sub-regions
    Bükk: mainly white wines.
    Eger: fresh whites from Leányka and Királyleányka, full-bodied whites mainly from Olaszrizling or Chardonnay. Home of the Egri Bikavér (bulls blood of Eger), an elegant red blend, mainly based on Kékfrankos. Good Pinot noirs.
    Mátra: elegant and full-bodied whites, grown on volcanic soil. Main varieties are Müller-Thurgau, Olaszrizling and Chardonnay.
    Észak-Dunántúl, with sub-regions
    Neszmély: fresh and aromatic whites.
    Etyek-Buda: fresh white wines, with considerable acidity.
    Mór: volcanic soil, full-bodied whites. Main variety: Ezerjó.
    Pannonhalma: full-bodied whites.
    Sopron: elegant reds (mainly Kékfrankos).
    Pannon, with sub-regions
    Pécs: mainly whites. Traditional variety: Cirfandli
    Szekszárd: full-bodied reds, with a bit of spice. Famous wine: Szekszárdi Bikavér.

    Main varieties: Kadarka, Kékfrankos, Cabernet franc, Merlot,Tolna
    Villány: robust, full-bodied, spicy reds. Main varieties: Blauer Portugieser, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and occasionally Pinot Noir.
    Sopron, with sub-regions
    Sopron
    Tokaj

    The first village level dry Furmint in the Tokaji wine region Hungary's most famous wine region lies in the foothills of the Zemplén Mountains of the far north of the country - in fact the traditional area crosses into the southeast corner of modern Slovakia. The area is notable for its long warm autumns and mists that come in from the River Bodrog, creating perfect conditions for noble rot.

    This can contribute towards creating the botrytised ('aszú') grapes for which the region is famous. These are individually picked as late as mid-November into buckets ('puttonyos') and crushed to a paste. Varying amounts of this aszú paste are then added to non-aszú must or wine made from a mix of Furmint, Hárslevelű, Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains, Kövérszőlő or Zéta grapes, and left to ferment. The resulting wine is then aged in relatively small barrels in a labyrinth of cellars in the soft volcanic tuff, on whose walls thick blankets of fungus regulate the humidity.

    Given that aszú conditions only happen in perhaps three vintages per decade, a lot of dry Furmint is also produced. Other grapes grown in the area include Hárslevelű, Muscat Blanc, Kövérszőlő and Zéta.

    For centuries the main product of the area was the sweet wine, mainly the Botrytised selections. The dry Furmint got into the attention of wine connoisseurs and experts of the world when the Úrágya 2000 single vineyard selection had been introduced by István Szepsy. The wine expressed great minerality, complexity and structure, which has been experienced only in the finest white wines of historic regions like Burgundy or the Mosel before. The aging potential was also promising. In 2003 more producers of Mád village produced single vineyard selected dry Furmint wines with great success.

    Mád village with its almost 1200 ha had the opportunity to produce high quality dry Furmint wine in significant quantity as a commune level wine, which can express the unique volcanic terroir of the region, this wine is named after its appellation Mad and produced by István Szepsy Jr. in the Szent Tamás Winery.

    Hungarian grape varieties are:

    Hárslevelű, Irsai Oliver,Cserszegi fűszeres,Királyleányka,Zenit,Furmint,Juhfark and Kéknyelű

  • Italy

    Italian wine is produced in every region of Italy, home to some of the oldest wine-producing regions in the world. Italy is the world's largest producer of wine, with an area of 702,000 hectares (1,730,000 acres) under vineyard cultivation, and contributing a 2013–2017 annual average of 48.3 million hl of wine. In 2018 Italy accounted for 19 percent of global production, ahead of France (17 percent) and Spain (15 percent).Italian wine is both exported around the world and popular domestically among Italians, who consume an average of 42 litres per capita, ranking fifth in world wine consumption.

    Etruscans and Greek settlers produced wine in Italy before the Romans planted their own vineyards in the 2nd century AD. The Romans greatly increased Italy's area under vine using efficient viticultural and winemaking methods, and pioneered large-scale production and storage techniques such as barrel-making and bottling.

    Although vines had been cultivated from the wild Vitis vinifera grape for millennia, it was not until the Greek colonization that wine-making flourished. Viticulture was introduced into Sicily and southern Italy by the Mycenaean Greeks, and was well established when the extensive Greek colonization transpired around 800 BC. It was during the Roman defeat of the Carthaginians (acknowledged masters of wine-making) in the 2nd century BC that Italian wine production began to further flourish. Large-scale, slave-run plantations sprang up in many coastal areas and spread to such an extent that, in AD 92, emperor Domitian was forced to destroy a great number of vineyards in order to free up fertile land for food production.

    During this time, viticulture outside of Italy was prohibited under Roman law. Exports to the provinces were reciprocated in exchange for more slaves, especially from Gaul. Trade was intense with Gaul, according to Pliny, because the inhabitants tended to drink Italian wine unmixed and without restraint. Although unpalatable to adults, it was customary, at the time, for young people to drink wine mixed with a good proportion of water.

    As the laws on provincial viticulture were relaxed, vast vineyards began to flourish in the rest of Europe, especially Gaul (present day France) and Hispania. This coincided with the cultivation of new vines, such as biturica, an ancestor of the Cabernets. These vineyards became so successful that Italy ultimately became an import centre for provincial wines.

    Depending on the vintage, modern Italy is the world's largest or second largest wine producer. In 2005, production was about 20% of the global total, second only to France, which produced 26%. In the same year, Italy's share in dollar value of table wine imports into the U.S. was 32%, Australia's was 24%, and France's was 20%. Along with Australia, Italy's market share has rapidly increased in recent years.

    In 1963, the first official Italian system of classification of wines was launched. Since then, several modifications and additions to the legislation have been made, including a major modification in 1992. The last modification, which occurred in 2010, established four basic categories which are consistent with the latest European Union wine regulations (2008–09). The categories, from the bottom to the top level, are:

    Vini (Wines - informally called 'generic wines'): wines can be produced anywhere in the territory of the EU, label includes no indication of geographical origin of the grape varieties used or the vintage. (The label only reports the colour of the wine.)
    Vini Varietali (Varietal Wines): generic wines that are made either mostly (at least 85%) from one kind of authorized 'international' grape variety (Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah) or entirely from two or more of them, grape variety or varieties and vintage may be indicated on the label. (The prohibition to indicate the geographical origin is instead maintained. These wines can be produced anywhere in the territory of the EU.)
    Vini IGP (Wines with Protected Geographical Indication also traditionally implemented in Italy as IGT - Typical Geographical Indication): wines produced in a specific territory within Italy and following a series of specific and precise regulations on authorized varieties, viticultural and vinification practices, organoleptic and chemico-physical characteristics, labeling instructions, etc. Currently (2016) there exist 118 IGPs/IGTs.
    Vini DOP (Wines with Protected Designation of Origin): This category includes two sub-categories: Vini DOC (Controlled Designation of Origin) and Vini DOCG (Controlled and Guaranteed Designation of Origin). DOC wines must have been IGP wines for at least 5 years. They generally come from smaller regions within a certain IGP territory that are particularly vocated for their climatic and geological characteristics, quality, and originality of local winemaking traditions. They also must follow stricter production regulations than IGP wines. A DOC wine can be promoted to DOCG if it has been a DOC for at least 10 years. In addition to fulfilling the requisites for DOC wines, DOCG wines must pass stricter analyses prior to commercialization, including a tasting by a specifically appointed committee. DOCG wines must also demonstrate a superior commercial success. Currently (2016) there exist 332 DOCs and 73 DOCGs for a total of 405 DOPs.
    A number of sub-categories exist pertaining to the regulation of sparkling wine production (e.g. Vino Spumante, Vino Spumante di Qualità, Vino Spumante di Qualità di Tipo Aromatico, Vino Frizzante).

    Within the DOP category, 'Classico' is a wine produced in the original historic centre of the protected territory. 'Superiore' is a wine with at least 0.5 more alc%/vol than its corresponding regular DOP wine and produced using a smaller allowed quantity of grapes per hectare, generally yielding a higher quality. 'Riserva' is a wine that has been aged for a minimum period of time. The length of time varies with (red, white, Traditional-method sparkling, Charmat-method sparkling). Sometimes, 'Classico' or 'Superiore' are themselves part of the name of the DOP (e.g. Chianti Classico DOCG or Soave Superiore DOCG).

    The Italian Ministry of Agriculture (MIPAAF) regularly publishes updates to the official classification.

    It is important to note that looser regulations do not necessarily correspond to lower quality. In fact, many IGP wines are actually high quality wines. Talented winemakers sometimes wish to create wines using varietals or varietal percentages that do not match DOC or DOCG requirements. "Super Tuscans", for example, are generally high quality wines that carry the IGP designation. There are several other IGP wines of superior quality, as well.

    Unlike France, Italy has never had an official classification of its best 'crus'. Private initiatives like the Comitato Grandi Cru d'Italia (Committee of the Grand Crus of Italy) and the Instituto del Vino Italiano di Qualità—Grandi marchi (Institute of Quality Italian Wine—Great Brands) each gather a selection of renowned top Italian wine producers, in an attempt to unofficially represent the Italian wine excellence.

    In 2007 the Barbaresco Consorzio was the first to introduce the Menzioni Geografiche Aggiuntive (additional geographic mentions) also known as MEGA or subzones. Sixty-five subzone vineyard areas were identified in 2007 and one additional subzone was approved in 2010, bringing the final number to 66. The main goal was to put official boundaries to some of the most storied crus in order to protect them from unjustified expansion and exploitation.

    The Barolo Consorzio followed suit in 2010 with 181 MEGA, of which 170 were vineyard areas and 11 were village designations. Following the introductions of MEGA for Barbaresco and Barolo the term Vigna (Italian for vineyard) can be used on labels after its respective MEGA and only if the vineyard is within one of the approved official geographic mentions. The official introduction of subzones is strongly advocated by some for different denominations, but so far Barolo and Barbaresco are the only ones to have them.

    Italy's Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MIPAAF), has documented over 350 grapes and granted them "authorized" status. There are more than 500 other documented varieties in circulation, as well. The following is a list of the most common and important of Italy's many grape varieties.

    List of Italian grape varieties
    Bianco (White)

    Vineyards around the town of Barolo, Piedmont.
    Arneis: A variety from Piedmont, which has been grown there since the 15th century.
    Catarratto: Common in Sicily and the most widely planted white variety in Salaparuta.
    Fiano: Grown on the southwest coast of Italy.
    Friulano: A variety also known as Sauvignon Vert or Sauvignonasse, it yields one of the most typical wines of Friuli. The wine was previously known as Tocai but the old name was prohibited by the European Court of Justice to avoid confusion with the Tokay dessert wine from Hungary.
    Garganega: The main grape variety for wines labeled Soave, this is a dry white wine from the Veneto wine region of Italy. It is popular in northeast Italy around the city of Verona. Currently, there are over 3,500 distinct producers of Soave.
    Greco di Tufo: Grown on the southwest coast of Italy.
    Malvasia bianca: A white variety that occurs throughout Italy. It has many clones and mutations.
    Moscato blanc: Grown mainly in Piedmont, it is mainly used in the slightly-sparkling (frizzante), semi-sweet Moscato d'Asti. Not to be confused with Moscato Giallo and Moscato rosa, two Germanic varietals that are grown in Trentino Alto-Adige.
    Nuragus: An ancient Sardinian variety found in southern Sardegna, producing light and tart wines usually consumed as aperitifs.
    Passerina: mainly derives from Passerina grapes (it may even be produced purely with these), plus a minimum percentage of other white grapes and may be still, sparkling or passito. The still version has an acidic profile, which is typical of these grapes.
    Pecorino: Native to Marche and Abruzzo, it is used in the Falerio dei Colli Ascolani and Offida DOC wines. It is low-yielding, but will ripen early and at high altitudes. Pecorino wines have a rich, aromatic character.
    Pigato: An acidic variety from Liguria that is vinified to pair with seafood.
    Pinot grigio: A successful commercial grape (known as Pinot Gris in France), its wines are characterized by crispness and cleanness. The wine can range from mild to full-bodied.
    Ribolla Gialla: A Greek variety introduced by the Venetians that now makes its home in Friuli.
    Trebbiano: This is the most widely planted white varietal in Italy. It is grown throughout the country, with a special focus on the wines from Abruzzo and from Lazio, including Frascati. Trebbiano from producers such as Valentini have been known to age for 15+ years. It is known as Ugni blanc in France.
    Verdicchio: This is grown in the areas of Castelli di Jesi and Matelica in the Marche region and gives its name to the varietal white wine made from it. The name comes from "verde" (green). In the last few years Verdicchio wines are considered to be the best white wines of Italy.
    Vermentino: This is widely planted in Sardinia and is also found in Tuscan and Ligurian coastal districts. The wines are a popular accompaniment to seafood.
    Other important whites include Carricante, Coda de Volpe, Cortese, Falanghina, Grechetto, Grillo, Inzolia, Picolit, Traminer, Verduzzo, and Vernaccia.

    Non-native varieties include Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer (sometimes called traminer aromatico), Petite Arvine, Riesling, Sauvignon blanc, and others.

    Rosso (Red)

    Sangiovese vineyards in the Val d'Orcia, Monte Amiata in the background.
    Aglianico: considered to be one of the three greatest Italian varieties with Sangiovese and Nebbiolo, and sometimes called "The Barolo of the South" (il Barolo del Sud) due to its ability to produce fine wines.
    It is primarily grown in Basilicata and Campania to produce DOCG wines, Aglianico del Vulture Superiore and Taurasi.
    Barbera: The most widely grown red wine grape of the Piedmont and Southern Lombardy regions, the largest plantings of Barbera are found near the towns of Asti, Alba, and Pavia. Barbera wines were once considered simply "what you drank while waiting for the Barolo to be ready", but with a new generation of wine makers this is no longer the case. The wines are now meticulously vinified. In the Asti region, Barbera grapes are used in making "Barbera d'Asti Superiore", which may be aged in French barriques to become Nizza, a quality wine aimed at the international market. The vine has bright cherry-coloured fruit, and its wine is acidic with a dark colour.
    Corvina: Along with the varieties Rondinella and Molinara, this is the principal grape which makes the famous wines of the Veneto: Valpolicella and Amarone. Valpolicella wine has dark cherry fruit and spice. After the grapes undergo passito (a drying process), the wine is now called Amarone, and is high in alcohol (16% and up) and characterized by raisin, prune, and syrupy fruits. Some Amarones can age for 40+ years and command spectacular prices. In December 2009, there was celebration when the acclaimed Amarone di Valpolicella was finally awarded its long-sought DOCG status. The same method used for Amarone is used for Recioto, the oldest wine produced in this area, but the difference is that Recioto is a sweet wine.
    Dolcetto: A grape that grows alongside Barbera and Nebbiolo in Piedmont, its name means "little sweet one", referring not to the taste of the wine, but the ease in which it grows and makes good wines suitable for everyday drinking. Flavours of concord grape, wild blackberries, and herbs permeate the wine.
    Malvasia nera: Red Malvasia variety from Piedmont. A sweet and perfumed wine, sometimes pronounced in the passito style.
    Montepulciano: Not to be confused with the Tuscan town of Montepulciano, it is most widely planted grape on the opposite coast in Abruzzo. Its wines develop silky plum-like fruit notes, friendly acidity, and light tannins. More recently, producers have been creating a rich, inky, extracted version of this wine, a sharp contrast to the many inferior bottles produced in the past.
    Nebbiolo: The most noble of Italy's varieties. The name (meaning "little fog") refers to the autumn fog that blankets most of Piedmont where Nebbiolo is chiefly grown, and where it achieves the most successful results. A difficult grape variety to cultivate, it produces the most renowned Barolo and Barbaresco, made in the province of Cuneo, along with the lesser-known Ghemme and Gattinara, made in the province of Vercelli and Sforzato, Inferno and Sassella made in Valtellina. Traditionally produced Barolo can age for fifty years-plus, and is regarded by many wine enthusiasts as the greatest wine of Italy.
    Negroamaro: The name literally means "black bitter". A widely planted grape with its concentration in the region of Puglia, it is the backbone of the Salice Salentino.
    Nero d'Avola: This once-obscure native varietal wine of Sicily is gaining attention for its dark fruit notes and strong tannins. The quality of Nero d'Avola has surged in recent years.
    Primitivo: A red grape found in southern Italy, most notably in Apulia. Primitivo ripens early and thrives in warm climates, where it can achieve very high alcohol levels. Both Primitivo and California Zinfandel are clones of the Croatian grape Crljenak Kaštelanski.
    Sagrantino: A rare native of Umbria, which although by 2010 planted on only 994 hectares (2,460 acres), the wines produced from it (either as 100% Sagrantino in Montefalco Sagrantino or blended with Sangiovese as Montefalco Rosso) are world-renowned and very high in tannins. These wines can also age for many years.
    Sangiovese: Italy's claim to fame and the pride of Tuscany, it is most notably the predominant grape variety in Chianti and Chianti Classico, and the sole ingredient in Brunello di Montalcino. Sangiovese is also a major constituent of dozens of other denominations such as Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Rosso di Montalcino and Montefalco Rosso, as well as the basis of many of the acclaimed, modern-styled "Super-Tuscans", where it is blended with three of the Bordeaux varietals (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc) and typically aged in French oak barrels, resulting in a wine primed for the international market in the style of a typical California cabernet: oaky, high-alcohol, and a ripe, fruit-forward profile.
    Other major red varieties are Cannonau, Ciliegiolo, Gaglioppo, Lagrein, Lambrusco, Monica, Nerello Mascalese, Pignolo, Refosco, Schiava, Schioppettino, Teroldego, and Uva di Troia.

    "International" varieties such as Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah are also widely grown.

  • Lebanon

    Lebanon is among the oldest sites of wine production in the world.The Israelite prophet Hosea (780–725 BC) is said to have urged his followers to return to God so that "they will blossom as the vine and fame be like the wine of Lebanon, [and] their fragrance will be like that of Lebanon". The Phoenicians of its coastal strip were instrumental in spreading wine and viticulture throughout the Mediterranean in ancient times. Despite the many conflicts of the region, the country has an annual production of about 8,500,000 bottles of wine.

    Lebanese winemakers have favored French grapes, particularly Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Rhone varietals such as Cinsaut, Carignan and Grenache.

    There are also grapes that are specific and indigenous to Lebanon such as Obaideh and Merwah

    Most of the major wineries have their vineyards in the southern Beqaa Valley. Château Ksara remains much the biggest, with 70% of all the country's production. It is no longer connected with the Jesuit house of Tanail, it was sold in 1972 and suffered considerably during the civil war, but has now bounced back with reds and rosés made from Rhone varietals such as Carignan and Cinsaut.

    Next biggest is Château Kefraya, whose majority of shares were bought by Druze politician Walid Jumblat from the De Bustros family in the late 1980s. The former winemaker, Yves Morard, has now set up Cave Kouroum nearby.

    Chateau Musar is perhaps the best known in the West, it was a particular favourite of Auberon Waugh. Musar achieved international recognition at the Bristol Wine Fair of 1979 and for a long time was the only Lebanese wine widely available in the United Kingdom. The second wine, 'Hochar', is made in a lighter style for earlier drinking. Chateau Musar is known for transporting the grapes across the Front line during the civil war. Currently the sector exports over 50% of the production mainly to the United Kingdom, France and the United States.

  • New Zealand

    New Zealand wine is produced in several winegrowing regions of New Zealand. The country's elongated island geography in the South Pacific Ocean results in maritime climates with considerable regional variation from north to south. Like many other New World wines, it is usually produced and labelled as single varietal wines, or if blended the varietal components are listed on the label. New Zealand is best known for its Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, and more recently its dense, concentrated Pinot Noir from Marlborough, Martinborough and Central Otago.

    While New Zealand wine traces its history to the 19th century, the modern wine industry in New Zealand began in the mid-20th century and expanded rapidly in the early 21st century, averaging 17% per annum in the first two decades. In 2019, New Zealand produced 297 million litres from 38,680 hectares (95,600 acres) of vineyard area, about three-quarters of which is dedicated to Sauvignon Blanc. Nearly 90% of total production is exported, chiefly to the United States, Britain and Australia, reaching a record NZ$1.83 billion in export revenue in 2019. In each of the previous 10 years, New Zealanders consumed a fairly constant 20 litres of wine per adult, about a third of which was imported from other countries, mainly Australia.

    White Wines

    Cloudy Bay brought New Zealand's Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc to international attention in the 1980s; Chardonnays from Martinborough (Wairarapa) and Kumeu (Auckland) regions; a single vineyard Viognier from Gisborne; Riesling and Pinot Gris from Central Otago.

    Sauvignon Blanc
    New Zealand has long been best known for its Sauvignon Blanc, which dominates New Zealand's wine industry. In 2017 its vines took up 22,085 hectares (54,570 acres) of vineyard area, a full 60% of New Zealand's total grape planting, and Sauvignon Blanc wine made up 86% of the nation's exports. New Zealand's Sauvignon Blanc is regarded by many critics as among the best in the world.[14] Historically, Sauvignon Blanc has been used in many French regions in both AOC and Vin de pays wine, and famously Sancerre and Pouilly Fumé. Following Robert Mondavi's lead in renaming Californian Sauvignon Blanc Fumé Blanc (partially in reference to Pouilly Fumé, but also to denote the smokiness of the wine produced from flinty soil and oak barrel ageing), there was a trend for oaked Sauvignon Blanc in New Zealand during the late 1980s. Strong oaky overtones dropped out of fashion through the 1990s but have since made a come-back, with several makers now offering oak-aged Sauvignon Blanc (Greywacke, Dog Point, te Pa Sauvignon Blanc 'Oke', Sacred Hill “Sauvage”, Jackson Estate "Grey Ghost", and Saint Clair “Barrique”).

    Chardonnay
    Chardonnay is produced as far south as Central Otago, but plantings increase the further north one goes. There is little discernible difference in styles of Chardonnay between the New Zealand wine regions; individual winemakers' recipes, use of oak, and the particular qualities of a vintage have tended to blur any distinction of terroir. It is therefore unsurprising that almost every region is represented among the most highly rated New Zealand Chardonnays, which include wines from Kumeu River Estate (Kumeu), Church Road, Clearview, Sacred Hill, Villa Maria and Te Mata Estate (Hawke's Bay), Ata Rangi (Martinborough), Fromm (Marlborough), Neudorf (Nelson), Millton Estate (Gisborne). Although Chardonnay may be less fashionable than it was ten years ago (it has declined in vineyard area in the last ten years, losing ground to Pinot Gris), winemakers in 2016 reported strong sales and a recent upswing. It also commands higher prices than any other New Zealand white wine variety.

    Pinot Gris
    Pinot Gris emerged in the early 2000s from almost nowhere to the country's fourth most planted variety 2017, overtaking Riesling in 2007. It is planted mostly in Marlborough, Hawke's Bay and Gisborne, with the remainder in the South Island. Some of the initial plantings of Pinot Gris were identified later as Flora; indeed, some Auckland winemakers have incorporated this mishap into their Flora wine names, such as "The Rogue" from Ascension and "The Impostor" from Omaha Bay Vineyards.

    Other White Wines

    Other white wine varietals grown in New Zealand include (in descending order of vineyard area) Riesling, Gewürztraminer and Viognier, and less commonly Chenin Blanc, Albariño, Arneis and Sémillon. Riesling is produced predominantly in Martinborough and the South Island. The same may be said about Gewürztraminer, although it is also planted extensively in Gisborne.[17] Chenin Blanc was once more important, but the viticultural peculiarities of the variety, particularly its unpredictable cropping in New Zealand, have led to its disfavor. Good examples nevertheless exist, from Esk Valley, Margrain and Millton Estate.

    Red Wines
    Today, New Zealand is internationally most well known for red wines made from traditional French varieties. After Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir has become New Zealand's second most planted variety, while in the warmer regions, particularly Hawke's Bay and Waiheke Island, Syrah and Bordeaux-style blends of mainly Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon have been gaining recognition.

    Pinot Noir

    Several Pinot Noir Wines from Central Otago.

    The late 1970s was early in the modern wine industry, and the comparatively low annual sunshine hours to be found in New Zealand discouraged the planting of red varieties. Despite this, some held great hopes for Pinot Noir. Initial results were mixed due to limited access to good clones, yet the Saint Helena 1984 Pinot Noir was notable enough that the Canterbury region was thought to become the New Zealand home for Pinot Noir. While the early excitement passed, the Canterbury region has witnessed the development of Pinot Noir as the dominant red variety, particularly in the now dominant Waipara sub-region. Producers include Waipara Hills, Pegasus Bay, Waipara Springs, Muddy Water, Greystone, Omihi Hills and Black Estate.

    The next region to excel with Pinot Noir was Martinborough, 75 kilometres east of Wellington in the Wairarapa region. Several vineyards, including Palliser Estate, Martinborough Vineyards, Murdoch James Estate (now Luna Estate) and Ata Rangi consistently produced interesting and increasingly complex wine from Pinot Noir at the end of the 1980s and into the 1990s.

    At around this time the first plantings of Pinot Noir in Central Otago occurred in the Kawarau Gorge. Central Otago had a long (for New Zealand) history as a producer of quality stone fruit, particularly cherries. Significantly further south than all other wine regions in New Zealand, it nevertheless benefited from being surrounded by mountain ranges which increased both its daily and seasonal temperature variations, making the climate unusual in the typically maritime conditions in New Zealand, and ideal for growing Pinot Noir. Indeed, recent years have seen Pinot Noir from Central Otago winning numerous international awards and accolades, and have excited the interest of British wine commentators including Jancis Robinson and Oz Clarke. Not only did the wines have the distinctive acidity and abundant fruit of New Zealand wines, but they demonstrated a great deal of complexity, with aromas and flavours not common in New Zealand wine and normally associated with burgundian wine. Notable producers include Akarua, Felton Road, Chard Farm and Mount Difficulty.

    In a blind tasting of New Zealand Pinot Noir in 2006, Michael Cooper reported that of the top ten wines, five came from Central Otago, four from Marlborough and one from Waipara. This compares with all top ten wines coming from Marlborough in an equivalent blind tasting in the previous year. Cooper suggested that this has to do with more Central Otago production becoming available in commercial quantities, than the relative qualities of the regions' Pinot Noir.

    As is the case for other New Zealand wine, New Zealand Pinot Noir is fruit-driven, forward and early maturing in the bottle. It tends to be quite full bodied (for the variety), very approachable and oak maturation tends to be restrained. High quality examples of New Zealand Pinot Noir are distinguished by savoury, earthy flavours with a greater complexity. In an article in Decanter (September 2014), Bob Campbell suggests that regional styles are starting to emerge within New Zealand Pinot Noir. Marlborough, with by far the largest plantings of Pinot, produces wines that are quite aromatic, red fruit in particular red cherry, with a firm tannic structure that provides cellaring potential.

    Bordeaux-style blends and Syrah
    New Zealand red wines are also made from the classic Bordeaux varieties, mainly Merlot, with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot. Syrah wines from Hawke's Bay, particularly the Gimblett Gravels and Bridge Pa Triangle sub-regions, as well as further north from Waiheke Island have also gained a good reputation internationally.

    Early success in the Hawke's Bay Region in the 1960s by McWilliams and in the 1980s by Te Mata Estate, led to a phase in the 1980s and 1990s of mainly Cabernet Sauvignon planting and wine production by large producers such as Corbans, McWilliams, and Mission Estate. As viticultural techniques were improved and tailored to New Zealand's maritime climate, other Bordeaux-style grapes were planted, and a switch of emphasis made to the more suitable, earlier-ripening Merlot. Today, Merlot is the second most planted red variety after Pinot Noir, accounting for 1,203 hectares (2,970 acres), far outweighing Cabernet Sauvignon plantings by five to one.

    Typically, these Bordeaux blends come from the hotter and drier regions of New Zealand, largely in the Hawke's Bay Region. Wines that typify the best of Hawke's Bay include Elephant Hill "Airavata", Te Mata Estate's “Coleraine”, Craggy Range's “Sophia”, Newton Forrest Estate's “Cornerstone”, Esk Valley's “The Terraces” and Villa Maria's Reserve Merlot and Cabernet. Waiheke Island, whilst a very small viticultural region, also produces acclaimed red wines such as the “Larose” from Stonyridge, and wines from Destiny Bay, Man O' War, and Goldie Estate. In Marlborough there are also a small number of producers of Bordeaux-style varietal wines, and examples of Bordeaux blends can be found as far south as Waipara, where the “Maestro” from Pegasus Bay also demonstrates the shift from Cabernet Sauvignon to Merlot predominant blends.

    The amount of Cabernet Sauvignon in production has dropped to a third of what it was in the early 2000s, and has been overtaken by a tripling of Syrah planting in that time. In the same time period, Sauvignon Blanc has grown more than five-fold and Pinot Noir has doubled. Whilst today's fashion has turned from Bordeaux blends to Pinot Noir, it also indicates the marginality of Cabernet Sauvignon in New Zealand conditions.

    Other red wines
    There are some producers dedicated to establishing other red grape varieties. New Zealand has small plantings of Tempranillo, Pinotage, Montepulciano and Sangiovese in Hawke's Bay and the warmer Auckland regions.

    Rosé
    Most New Zealand wine producers that produce Pinot Noir or Merlot also produce a rosé style wine, although it is sometimes found made from other red varieties. New Zealand rosé is made to drink immediately rather than age, resulting in the crisp, fresh, fruit-forward flavours popular with the New Zealand public. Well rated examples are from Forrest, Isabel, Ti Point, Whitehaven and Rapaura Springs.

    Sparkling Wine

    Méthode Marlborough, a collaboration of sparkling wine producers.
    Méthode traditionelle sparkling wine is produced in New Zealand. The first made commercially was a wine called Champelle, made in 1956 by Selaks in Kumeu. In 1975 Daniel Le Brun, a Champagne maker, emigrated to New Zealand to begin producing méthode traditionelle in Marlborough. The suitability of the Marlborough terroir and success of the wines produced over the next 20 years were sufficient to attract investment from large Champagne producers, most notably Deutz and Moët & Chandon. Today, the Le Brun family continue to produce well awarded Méthode sparkling wine, operating as No. 1 Family Estate, after the Daniel Le Brun name was acquired by Lion. In 2013 several Marlborough producers established Méthode Marlborough, a collaborative organisation to standardise and promote the brand both domestically and internationally.

    Although the majority of méthode traditionelle sparkling wines in New Zealand are made in Marlborough, there are also fine examples from throughout the rest of New Zealand. Quartz Reef is based in Central Otago, Church Road in Hawke's Bay, Lindauer was originally established in Gisborne (and now also owned by Lion), and there are makers as far north as the Auckland regions as well.

    Exports of New Zealand sparkling wines are chiefly to the United Kingdom, where the best known examples there are the Pelorus from Cloudy Bay, now part-owned by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, and the Special Reserve from Lindauer. More recently, exports of méthode have been declining, halving in volume between 2005 and 2011, and now making up less than 1% of total New Zealand exports. This is partly due to a rise in popularity and production of sparkling Sauvignon Blanc, a new style of sparkling New Zealand wine.

    Wine regions of New Zealand

    Map showing the major New Zealand wine regions (Geographical Indications)
    New law came into force in New Zealand in 2017 that established a Geographical Indication (GI) classification for New Zealand wine, equivalent to European Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) classification and the American Viticultural Areas in the United States. In 2017 a total of 18 applications were lodged with the GI register at the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand, and registrations were complete by early 2019.

    Northland
    Northland is the most northerly wine region in New Zealand, and thus closest to the equator. A Geographical Indication since October 2017, it is also the smallest GI, producing 92 tonnes in 2016 from an area of only 64 hectares (160 acres) under vines.[6] Although Chardonnay is the most planted variety, it is most well known for ripe Syrah red wines, and white wines from Pinot Gris, which together comprise the top three planted varieties. Some Northland wineries are also making wine from warmer climate grapes such as Montepulciano, Chambourcin and Pinotage. The combination of high summer temperatures and high rainfall can be challenging for viticulture; although irrigation is not needed, the humidity can encourage some pests and diseases. The fertile soils and Northland climate also results in high vine productivity, requiring good vineyard management to limit yields in order to ensure better quality wines. Consequently, Northland tends to produce ripe wines, with low acidity.

  • Portugal

    Portuguese wine is the result of traditions introduced to the region by ancient civilizations, such as the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Greeks, and mostly the Romans. Portugal started to export its wines to Rome during the Roman Empire. Modern exports developed with trade to England after the Methuen Treaty in 1703. From this commerce a wide variety of wines started to be grown in Portugal. And, in 1758, one of the first wine-producing regions of the world, the Região Demarcada do Douro was created under the orientation of Marquis of Pombal, in the Douro Valley. Portugal has two wine-producing regions protected by UNESCO as World Heritage: the Douro Valley Wine Region (Douro Vinhateiro) and Pico Island Wine Region (Ilha do Pico Vinhateira). Portugal has a big variety of local kinds, producing a very wide variety of different wines with distinctive personality.

    Portugal has a large array of native varietals, producing an abundant variety of different wines. The wide array of Portuguese grape varietals contributes as significantly as the soil and climate to wine differentiation, producing distinctive wines from the Northern regions to Madeira Islands, and from Algarve to the Azores. In Portugal only some grape varietals or castas are authorized or endorsed in the Demarcated regions, such as:

    Vinhos Verdes - White castas Alvarinho, Arinto (Pedernã), Avesso, Azal, Batoca, Loureiro, Trajadura; red castas Amaral, Borraçal, Alvarelhão, Espadeiro, Padeiro, Pedral, Rabo de Anho, Vinhão.

    Porto/Douro - Red castas Touriga Nacional, Tinta Amarela, Aragonez, Bastardo, Castelão, Cornifesto, Donzelinho Tinto, Malvasia Preta, Marufo, Rufete, Tinta Barroca, Tinta Francisca, Tinto Cão, Touriga Franca; white castas Arinto, Cercial, Donzelinho branco, Folgazão, Gouveio, Malvasia Fina, Moscatel Galego branco, Rabigato, Samarrinho, Semillon, Sercial, Roupeiro, Verdelho, Viosinho, Vital.

    Dão - Red castas Touriga Nacional, Alfrocheiro, Aragonez, Jaen e Rufete; White castas Encruzado, Bical, Cercial, Malvasia Fina, Verdelho.

    Bairrada - Red casts Baga, Alfrocheiro, Camarate, Castelão, Jaen, Touriga Nacional, Aragonez; white castas Maria Gomes, Arinto, Bical, Cercial, Rabo de Ovelha, Verdelho.

    Bucelas - White castas Arinto, Sercial e Rabo de Ovelha.

    Colares - Red casta Ramisco; White casta Malvasia

    Carcavelos - Red castas Castelão and Preto Martinho; White castas Galego Dourado, Ratinho, Arinto.

    Setúbal - Red casta Moscatel Roxo; white casta Moscatel de Setúbal.

    Alentejo - Red castas Alfrocheiro, Aragonez, Periquita1, Tinta Caiada, Trincadeira, Alicante Bouschet, Moreto; White castas Antão Vaz, Arinto, Fernão Pires, Rabo de Ovelha, Roupeiro

    Algarve - Red castas Negra Mole, Trincadeira, Alicante Bouschet, Aragonez, Periquita; White castas Arinto, Roupeiro, Manteúdo, Moscatel Graúdo, Perrum, Rabo de Ovelha.

    Madeira - Red castas Bastardo, Tinta, Malvasia Cândida Roxa, Verdelho Tinto e Tinta Negra; white castas Sercial, Malvasia Fina (Boal), Malvasia Cândida, Folgasão (Terrantez), Verdelho.

    Tejo - Red castas Baga, Camarate, Castelão, Trincadeira, Tinta-Miúda, Preto-Martinho, Aragonez, Touriga-Franca, Touriga-Nacional, Alfrocheiro, Caladoc, Esgana-Cão-Tinto, Jaen, Petit Verdot, Tinta-Barroca, Tinta-Caiada, Tinto-Cão, Merlot, Cabernet-Sauvignon, Bastardo, Pinot noir, Alicante-Bouschet, Grand noir, Moreto, Syrah; white castas Arinto, Fernão Pires, Rabo-de-Ovelha, Tália, Trincadeira-das-Pratas, Vital, Verdelho, Tamarez, Cerceal branco, Alicante branco, Chardonnay, Malvasia-Rei, Pinot blanc, Sauvignon, Alvarinho, Moscatel-Graúdo, Síria, Viosinho.

  • Slovakia

    Slovak wine is produced in the southern part of Slovakia, which is divided into 6 wine-producing areas. Although Slovak wines except Tokaj are not well known internationally, they are popular domestically and in neighbouring countries. The most commonly grown grape varieties in Slovakia are:

    White Wine Grape Grape
    Veltlínské zelené (Grüner Veltliner)
    Rizling vlašský (Welschriesling)
    Müller-Thurgau - White 
    Rizling rýnsky (Riesling)
    Rulandské šedé (Pinot Gris) 
    Tramín červený (Gewürztraminer) 

    Red Wine Grape Variety
    Frankovka modrá (Blaufränkisch) 
    Svätovavrinecké (St. Laurent) 
    Rulandské biele (Pinot Blanc) 
    Cabernet Sauvignon - Red
    Rulandské modré (Pinot Noir)

  • South Africa

    South African wine has a history dating back to 1659, with the first bottle produced in Cape Town by its founder Jan van Riebeeck. Access to international markets led to new investment in the South African wine market. Production is concentrated around Cape Town, with major vineyard and production centres at Constantia, Paarl, Stellenbosch and Worcester. There are about 60 appellations within the Wine of Origin (WO) system, which was implemented in 1973 with a hierarchy of designated production regions, districts and wards. WO wines must only contain grapes from the specific area of origin. "Single vineyard" wines must come from a defined area of less than 5 hectares. An "Estate Wine" can come from adjacent farms if they are farmed together and wine is produced on site. A ward is an area with a distinctive soil type or climate and is roughly equivalent to a European appellation.

    As of 2003, South Africa was 17th in terms of area planted with vines, with the country owning 1.5% of the world's grape vineyards with 110,000 hectares (270,000 acres). Yearly production among South Africa's wine regions is usually around 10 million hL (264 million US gallons) which regularly puts the country among the top ten wine producing countries in the world. The majority of wine production in South Africa takes place in the Cape, particularly the south-west corner near the coastal region. The historical heart of South African wine has been the area near the Cape Peninsula and modern-day Cape Town. This area is still of prominence in the industry being home to the major wine regions of Constantia, Stellenbosch and Paarl. Today, wine is grown throughout the Western Cape and in parts of the Northern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape regions. The river regions along the Breede Valley, Olifants and Orange Rivers are among the warmest areas and are often the location of bulk wine production and distillation. The cooler climate regions east of Cape Town along the Indian Ocean coast, such as Walker Bay and Elgin, have seen vast expansion and development in recent years as producers experiment with cool climate varietals and wine styles.

    Grape varieties in South Africa are known as cultivar, with many common international varieties developing local synonyms that still have a strong tradition of use. These include: Chenin blanc (Steen), Riesling (until recently known locally as Weisser Riesling), Crouchen (known as Cape Riesling), Palomino (the grape of the Spanish wine Sherry known locally as "White French"), Trebbiano (Ugni Blanc), Sémillon (Groendruif) and Muscat of Alexandria (Hanepoot).However, wines that are often exported overseas will usually have the more internationally recognised name appear on the wine label. In 2015, SAWIS (South African Wine Information and Systems) reported that the country had 100,146 hectares of vineyards, with about 55% planted with white varieties. Chenin blanc has long been the most widely planted variety, still accounting for over 18% of all grape area planted in South Africa as of 2015, though it is slowly decreasing in overall share of vineyard area. In the 1980s and 1990s, interest in international varieties saw increase in plantings of Chardonnay and Sauvignon blanc. Other white grape varieties with significant plantings include Colombard (also spelled locally as Colombar), Cape Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Hanepoot, Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains, Riesling and Sémillon. Both red and white mutants of Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains as well as Chenel and Weldra, two Chenin blanc-Ugni blanc crossings, are used for brandy distillation and fortified wine production.

    From the 1990s, plantings of red grape varieties rose steadily. In the late 1990s, less than 18% of all the grapes grown in South Africa were red. By 2009 that number had risen to 44%. For most of the 20th century, the high yielding Cinsaut was the most widely planted red grape variety, but the shift in focus to quality wine production has seen plantings of the grape steadily decline to where it represented just 2% of all South Africa vineyards in 2009.In its place, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz and Pinotage have risen to prominence with Cabernet Sauvignon being the most widely grown red grape variety covering 12% of all plantings in 2009. Other red grape varieties found in South Africa include: Carignan, Gamay (often made in the style of Beaujolais wine with carbonic maceration), Grenache, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc, Pontac, Ruby Cabernet, Tinta Barroca and Zinfandel.

    There is a wide range of lesser known groups that are used to feed the country's still robust distilled spirits and fortified wine industry. These grapes usually produce bland, neutral wine that lends itself well to blending and distillation but is rarely seen as varietal bottlings. These include: Belies, False Pedro, Kanaän, Raisin blanc, Sultana and Servan.

  • Spain

    Spanish wines (Spanish: vinos españoles) are wines produced in Spain. Located on the Iberian Peninsula, Spain has over 1.2 million hectares (2.9 million acres) planted, making it the most widely planted wine-producing nation but it is the third largest producer of wine in the world, the largest being Italy and France, followed by the United States.This is due, in part, to the very low yields and wide spacing of the old vines planted on the dry, infertile soil found in some of the Spanish wine regions. The country is ninth in worldwide consumption with Spaniards drinking, on average, 21.6 litres (5.7 US gal) per person a year. The country has an abundance of native grape varieties, with over 400 varieties planted throughout Spain though 88 percent of the country's wine production is from only 20 grapes — including the reds Tempranillo, Bobal, Garnacha, and Monastrell; the whites Albariño, Airén, Verdejo, Palomino, and Macabeo; and the three Cava grapes Parellada, Xarel·lo, and Macabeo.

    Major Spanish wine regions include the Rioja and Ribera del Duero, which are known for their Tempranillo production; Jumilla, known for its Monastrell production; Jerez de la Frontera, the home of the fortified wine Sherry; Rías Baixas in the northwest region of Galicia that is known for its white wines made from Albariño and Catalonia which includes the Cava and still wine producing regions of the Penedès as well the Priorat region.

    Spain can be traditionally divided into 12 main wine regions. These wine regions somewhat follow the administrative borders of the 17 Autonomous Communities that make up the modern state of Spain. The central Autonomous Community of Castilla – La Mancha is the largest wine producing region, producing 13 million hectolitres, a third of Spanish wine output. Catalonia is the second largest producer, producing 5.5 million hectolitres (14% of total), and La Rioja is the third largest, producing almost 5 million hectolitres (13% of total). These larger wine regions are further divided into smaller wine regions that are classified under the Spanish wine law system, with 138 identifiable wine regions.

    Some records estimate that over 600 grape varieties are planted throughout Spain, but 88% of the country's wine production is focused on only 20 grape varieties.The most widely planted grape is the white wine grape Airén,prized for its hardiness and resistance to drop. It is found throughout central Spain and for many years served as the base for Spanish brandy. Wines made from this grape can be very alcoholic and prone to oxidation. The red wine grape Tempranillo is the second most widely planted grape variety.It is known throughout Spain under a variety of synonyms that may appear on Spanish wine labels including Cencibel, Tinto Fino and Ull de Llebre. Both Tempranillo and Garnacha are used to make the full-bodied red wines associated with the Rioja, Ribera del Duero and Penedès with Garnacha being the main grape of the Priorat region. In the Levante region, Monastrell and Bobal have significant plantings, being used for both dark red wines and dry rosé.

    In the northwest, the white wine varieties of Albariño and Verdejo are popular plantings in the Rías Baixas and Rueda respectively. In the Cava producing regions of Catalonia and elsewhere in Spain, the principal grapes of Macabeo, Parellada, and Xarel·lo are used for sparkling wine production as well as still white wines. In the southern Sherry and Malaga producing regions of Andalusia, the principal grapes are Palomino and Pedro Ximénez. As the Spanish wine industry becomes more modern, there has been a larger presence of international grape varieties appearing in both blends and varietal forms, most notably Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Syrah, Merlot and Sauvignon blanc. Other Spanish grape varieties that have significant plantings include Cayetana Blanca and Mencía.

  • USA

    Wine has been produced in the United States since the 1500s, with the first widespread production beginning in New Mexico in 1628.Today, wine production is undertaken in all fifty states, with California producing 89 percent of all US wine. The North American continent is home to several native species of grape, including Vitis labrusca, Vitis riparia, Vitis rotundifolia, and Vitis vulpina, but the wine-making industry is based almost entirely on the cultivation of the European Vitis vinifera, which was introduced by European settlers.With more than 1,100,000 acres (4,500 km2) under vine, the United States is the fourth-largest wine producing country in the world, after Italy, Spain, and France.

    There are nearly 3,000 commercial vineyards in the United States, and at least one winery in each of the 50 states.

    West Coast – More than 90% of the total American wine production occurs in the states of California, Washington, and Oregon.

    Southwestern United States – Notably New Mexico and Arizona

    Rocky Mountain Region – Notably Idaho and Colorado

    Southern United States – Notably Texas, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama

    Midwestern United States – Notably Missouri and Illinois

    Great Lakes region – Notably Michigan, New York, and Ohio

    East Coast of the United States – Notably eastern Long Island in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida

    Appellation labeling laws

    In order to have an AVA appear on a wine label, at least 85% of the grapes used to produce the wine must have been grown in the AVA.

    For a state or county appellation to appear on the wine label, 75% of the grapes used must be from that state or county. Some states have stricter requirements. For example, California requires 100% of the grapes used to be from California for a wine labeled as such, and Washington requires 95% of the grapes in a Washington wine be grown in Washington. If grapes are from two or three contiguous counties or states, a label can have a multi-county or multi-state designation so long as the percentages used from each county or state are specified on the label.

    American wine or United States is a rarely used appellation that classifies a wine made from anywhere in the United States, including Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C.. Wines with this designation are similar to the French wine vin de table, and can not include a vintage year. By law, this is the only appellation allowed for bulk wines exported to other counties.

    Semi-generic wines

    An example of American wines using semi-generic labels of burgundy, chablis, etc.
    U.S. laws formerly allowed American made wines to be labeled as "American Burgundy" or "California champagne", even though these names are restricted in Europe. U.S. laws required usage to include the qualifying area of origin to go with these semi-generic names. Other semi-generic names in the United States include Claret, Chablis, Chianti, Madeira, Malaga, Marsala, Moselle, Port, Rhine wine, Sauternes (often spelled on U.S. wine labels as Sauterne or Haut Sauterne), Sherry, and Tokay.The practice largely ceased in 2006 with the Wine Trade Agreement, though brands that were already using the terms can continue the practice, considered grandfathered in.

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