Australia is renowned for producing a great drop, but how well do you know your global wines?
Let us take you on a whirlwind tour of the five top wine-producing regions of the world – France, Italy, Spain, United States and Argentina. First up is France, a country synonymous with culture, fine food and wine.
France wine regions
France and wine go together like, well, breathing. With over 200 local wine varietals, getting your head around their wines can be a daunting experience - especially when you learn that they have 307 official wine label names. This is actually confusing as they don’t put the name of the grape on their wines, but rather have a controlled place name, Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée or AOC/AOP.
Famous French varietals and regions:
- Bordeaux - for bold, dry reds using Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot in the blend, including Saint-Estèphe, Saint-Julien and Saint-Émilion; and whites which are a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon.
- Rhône Valley - for Syrah (red) with St. Joseph and Crozes-Hermitage the most famous; as well as Grenache-Syrah blends from the Châteauneuf-du-Pape area the most sought after.
- Languedoc-Roussillon - for red blends like Grenache and Syrah from Corbières, Côtes du Roussillon villages and Collioure AOC.
- Loire Valley - for Sauvignon Blanc with AOC like Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé classics, as well as Chenin Blanc from Vouvray.
- Provence - synonymous with rosé, so look for Côtes de Provence AOC.
- Champagne - for sparkling Chardonnay or Blanc de Blancs.
- Alsace - for dry style Riesling from Grand Cru vineyards.
Italy wine regions
Italy has well over 500+ wines, and 377 unique indigenous wine grapes - with a similar place in their culture to neighbour France. It also has a similar wine quality denomination system based on regions called DOP (Denominazioni di Origine Protetta).
Famous Italian varietals and regions:
- Veneto - for Prosecco, the most famous sparkling wine grown in the Veneto region.
- Tuscany - for Sangiovese, the most common red wine in Italy, look for Chianti, Montalcino and Montepulciano regions.
- Piedmont - for reds like Barbera and Nebbiolo from the Barolo DOP.
United States wine regions
Did you know wine is produced in every state of the United States, but California is the big daddy, producing more than all the other states put together. There, Chardonnay is the top varietal, followed closely by Cab Sav.
Famous USA varietals and regions:
- California - look for white and red wines from the Napa Valley, while Sonoma is all about Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Chardonnay.
- Washington State - this is the second biggest wine producing state in the USA, producing Riesling, Chardonnay, Merlot, and Syrah.
Argentina wine regions
Argentina is the world’s 5th largest producer of wine, with world class Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon produced in the country.
Famous Argentina varietals and regions:
- Mendoza - for Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Tempranillo and the famous white wine, Torrontes.
- Patagonia - for Pinot Noir and Merlot.
Spain wine regions
Last but not least: Spain! Did you know that Spain is the third largest producer of wines globally, after Italy and France? They have 77 indigenous grape varieties grown in 69 unique wine regions, so we are only going to list some of the more common varietals you may see on the shelf.
Famous Spanish varietals and regions:
- Cava - for a (much cheaper) sparkling wine you should seek out Reserva Cava, produced in this region just south of Barcelona.
- Rioja - for a glass of classic Tempranillo look no further than wines from this region, which are all aged in oak barrels.
- Jerez - for a glass of sherry (a fortified wine), look for a bottle from this region on the south-west of Spain.
We are also excited to launch our very own Spanish varietals - the first in our Expedition Series - a Tempranillo Cabernet Sauvignon, a Verdejo Sauvignon Blanc, and a Spanish style Sparkling Cuvee. All are available exclusively online at shopedenvale.com.au
5 fun facts you didn’t know about Spanish wine
And while we have a Spanish theme going, let’s learn a little more about their wines - with these fun facts!
- The Romans loved Spanish wine
- Wine has been produced there since the first century AD
- Spain is the top exporter of wine in the world
- Spain is the top producer of organic wine globally
- There are 400+ grape varieties in Spain
Hope this has been useful and you now feel confident to have a go at buying or sampling a drop from these top wine-producing regions.
Looking for a non-alcoholic wine for your Christmas work function or summer event? All our varietals are available online. Or check availability at your local stockist. Selected products are available in the beverage aisle at these retailers: