The Greatest Wine Regions
We’ve created this list with regions that have set the bar for styles of wine and created niches for oenophile experiences and wine-making techniques. One of the determining factors were regions that are paving the way for a new era in wine and forging new ideas, rituals and flavor profiles. They are stepping up their game to challenge traditional thinking and explore new horizons. So, whether or not you agree with our picks, grab a glass and enjoy. Cheers!
Nestled at the foot of the Alps, the trapped fog and cooler climate combine with seven DOCGs and seven DOCs to create world-class wines. The leading grape in Piedmont is Nebbiolo, which produces the superb Barolo and Barbaresco wines. To complement the depth of the Nebbiolo wines, sweeter wines Moscato d’Asti and Asti Spumante are made from Moscato Bianco. The mineral-rich wines from Azienda Cerreto feature the citrus and pear flavors of the Arneis grape.Wine in Piedmont is as much a part life as breathing!
Napa Valley, California
The first of the wine regions in the United States to garner international praise and attention, is home to some of the world’s greatest wineries. With a tradition that spans from early settlers to finding a “legal” way around prohibition, the American “cowboy” mentality comes through in the determination to make a world-class wine when they were told they never would. The outstanding Mediterranean microclimate and a mixture of decomposed oceanic fossils and lava ash give the rich grapes of Robert Mondavi, Chateau Montelena and Harlan Estate their bold and elegant flavors.
Saar and Ruwer, two rivers that cut through the dramatic German landscape and converge into the Mosel River, creating a gorgeous backdrop for some of the most complex wines in the world. The steep south-facing slopes gather as much sun as possible as the delicate Riesling grapes gain a deep minerality from the rich slate soils. Riesling, the soft wine grape, is king here. Before Bordeaux took the world by storm, it was the Rieslings produced here that basked in the world’s attention.
No region has had as much influence over the past century as Bordeaux. Creating everything from a wine culture to mythical vintages that garner more attention than some celebrities, these wines have set standards and tasting profiles worldwide. The two rivers that separate Bordeaux into “left bank” and “right bank” are the Garonne and the Dordogne. Merlot is the granddaddy here and lends its texture to historic wines like Pétrus and Château Ausone. Due to over production, many of the Châteaus are failing to make the same landmark wines they were able to in the early 2000s.
The home of some of the most recognizable and consistent wines in the world, Tuscany produces such wines as Chianti Classico, Brunello, Carmignano, and the red blends known as Super Tuscans. Tuscany embodies hard work, dedication and passion. The terroir and texture imbue Tuscan wines with a richness that stands out.
Ribera del Duero, Spain
Placed on the northern plateaus of Spain, along the Duero River, the rocky terrain of Ribera del Duero is home to the vines that give birth to the most expensive wine in the world, Vega Sicilia. The Tempranillo grape and the ability to grow world-class Cabernet Sauvignon give this region the leg up on its Rioja brother. Wine has been in this region for thousands of years with little fanfare to speak of. With wines from vineyards like Pesquera and Pago de Carraovejas, the Tempranillo grape speaks for itself.
Barossa Valley, Australia
Wines from Australia still continue to push the envelope in terms of the amount of flavor you can pack into a bottle. An anonymous Australian winemaker once said, “We make wines that punch you in the face and then kick your teeth down the road.” Even though they’re jam-packed with intense fruitiness, the wines are well balanced. For wine drinkers who are looking for a fruit-forward wine that cuts through a meaty steak or a rosemary lamb roast, try a Grenache or a Shiraz from our friends down under.
California’s Central Coast
Dubbed by aficionados as “the next frontier,” California’s Central Coast is filled with bar-setting vineyards like Longoria, Foxen and Sanford. Heavy producers of fresh, strawberry-scented Pinot Noirs and clean, woody Chardonnays abound, and producers often experiment with biodynamic farming.
South of France
The South of France sets the tone for most of the “green” farming in wine. Coupled with huge flavors and floral bouquets, these wines span palate ranges and have set the groundwork for a new breed of wine making. Regions like Côtes du Rhône and Gigondas produce some of the most complex and dynamic wines in the world. The Châteauneuf-du-Pape style of red-blended wines inspired some of California’s Central Coast’s best Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre wines.
Champagne is a region known not only for its quality but also its consistency. Big-name producers make both consistent house styles as well as single vintage products, and the quality is unrivaled. With a combination of steady prices and a surge of smaller producers who are meticulous about their quality – like Pierre Gimonnet et Fils – the region offers new products as the big names of Perrier Jouët, Dom Perignon and Moet & Chandon continue to provide classic styles that define elegance, sophistication and celebration. Life would be a little less special without Champagne.
The ancient ocean beds that have receded to give life and fertile soil to the Beaune give Burgundy its depth and complexity. Like an ever-evolving maze, each sip of luscious Pinot Noir or clean, crisp Chardonnay lends itself to a bevy of adjectives and thoughts. The gem among the subclassifications of Burgundy is the Côte d’Or, or the “Golden Slope.” The hillsides in Burgundy gather up the sun’s rays, and paired with the nutrient-rich dried seafloor, give character to famous vineyards like Domaine Romanée-Conti, Vosne-Romanée and Chassagne-Montrachet. Not only do these wines age perfectly if kept in a climate-controlled storage system, but the subtle nuances of the Pinot Noir evolve and mature into silky, smooth perfection.