Wine Regions

Wine regions around the world produce an astounding array of unique tastes and flavors. Experts and those just beginning the path to understanding wines will benefit from developing an appreciation of location. While it”s also important to cater to individual tastes and budgets, making a selection based on country and regional origins can provide helpful direction. In fact, developing an eye for reading labels is, for many, a preferred method of selecting wines. The Importance of Understanding Wine Regions Many factors can influence wine selection. A wine must fit the food served, whether it”s an appetizer, a meal or a dessert dish. Individual preferences also factor in, along with the wine buyer”s desired price range. For many, though, the background of the wine is just as important as any of these other elements. Regional variances can tell the real tale of taste, when dealing with quality wine. “Terroir” is the French term that encompasses the entire growing environment, from the soil to the temperature. The word is not limited to describing French wine growing regions, however. Wine connoisseurs may use it to describe any wine growing environment, from Italian wine regions to the wine growing regions of Sonoma in California. For the French, it”s also a protective word, because French wine growers are responsible for initiating laws guarding the origin and name of particular wines. For instance, a sparking wine is only a champagne when it originates from the Champagne region. However, no laws currently exist in the U.S. that limit the use of the name. As connoisseurs will adamantly state, no sparkling wine tastes exactly like champagne should unless it is the original. Old World and New World Regions When shopping by region, the choice between Old World versus New World wines takes center stage. In fact, selecting by region is an Old World tradition. European countries, including Spain and France, produce wines based on growing conditions, but also on technique. Famous regions in France include: Bordeaux Burgundy Champagne Loire Valley Pyrenees. The many regions of Spain include: La Mancha Navarra Priorato Rioja. Outside of Europe, New World regions produce wine more often by grape variety than by location. Notables include the United States and others outside of Europe, such as: Argentina Australia Canada Chile New Zealand South Africa. Regardless of whether you choose Old World or New, quality can vary significantly. The well known vineyards are typically more consistent, but off years can produce some less palatable tastes. An appreciation of the region, the maker and the year”s crop production must all combine when making a selection. Specialties in Wine Regions Understanding the type of grape production in which each region excels often provides insight into taste. That still leaves room for experimentation and you can always ask the local wine expert for new recommendations. Here are a few tips on regional specialties: Australia: Many great reds come out of Australia, due to the dry, hot climate in some growing regions. If you”re interested in particular wines from […]

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