There’s a lot of debate on the benefits of wine, particularly red. Some say it’s good for the heart but most Oenophiles agree that any kind of wine is good for the soul. Tasting wine can be a serious sport. Reds are best enjoyed at room temperature while whites benefit from the warmth of sitting in your glass. Some wines require that you let them sit in your mouth to soak up each and every ingredient. No matter if you’re on the varsity level or just getting the hang of becoming a true wine connoisseur, we can all use a refresher on how to properly approach a glass of wine.
If you’re wanting to take your market wine-aisle strolls to new heights, you can journey through some of the best wine regions in the world. All you need is our guide to discover where you can go to appreciate a crisp, fruity or bold glass of wine.
California’s grape studded region proclaims itself as Wine Country, offering up a spectacle of rich, aromatic vineyards that flourish through Napa, Sonoma and Los Carneros counties. With a fierce location in northern California, there’s no shortage of cascading mountains and picturesque backdrops trickled with luscious greens, varied temperatures and the salty but sweet scent of the Pacific Ocean. But you already knew that, right? What you might not know are some of the top destinations for a well-versed journey through Wine Country.
Napa Valley welcomes all kinds of crowds and Cabs. Napa is home to hillside wineries and vines that seem to go on for forever, and in Napa proper? There are tasting rooms, live Jazz and pubs for when you’ve reached your cap on vino. California also offers the vast lands of Sonoma County for the dirt road explorer and wine connoisseur. Located just north of San Francisco, this top destination is a roulette wheel of 425 wineries that offer up something for all kinds of palates from rustic and rugged to rich and regal. They say, “life opens up in Sonoma County,” and we know with a little wine – you’ll do just that. Los Carneros should be another stop along your California-inspired quest for fragrant, delicious wines. This wine region joins the Sonoma and Napa counties with a contribution of 99 vineyards, 11 wineries and a love for Chardonnay. If you need a little guidance, we have a list of some of the top wineries and vineyards in this region. Stop at Boonfly Hill, Beaulieu Ranch No 9, Bailiwick, Laurel Glen Vineyard, Silverado Vineburg, La Rochelle Wines, Saddleback Estate, Howell at the Moon, Jeans Edwards Cellar and Pellet Estate.
No pressure at all that Argentina lends itself as one of the most important wine-producing countries in the world and the largest producer of wine in South America. As the second largest country in South America, Argentina offers up enough land to produce their famous assortment of Malbec. Thanks to the high-altitude deserts and other traits of mother nature’s magic wand, Argentina is a dream country for the grape variety. Can you get behind the idea of sipping on floral notes and dark fruits with the Andes in the background? Yes? So can we. If you’re ready to make your trek to South America, you ought to know where to go. Mendoza is where all wine lovers linger in this beautiful country. This area produces three quarters of the Argentinian wine production, offering Cabernet Sauvignon, Bonarda and Chardonnay. You can also head north to the regions of Salta and Catamarca to sip on a floral white wine made from Argentina’s signature white grape, Torrontés. Still infused with influences from Spain and Italy, Argentina is making a name for itself in the wine world in developing a dedicated following among wine cognoscentis. While you’re here, stop at Bodegas Callia, Familia Zuccardi, Pulenta Estate, Bodega Colomé and El Esteco.
There’s something sweet to be said about the wine in Portugal. Known for Port, Portugal makes a grape blend that is best enjoyed with your favorite dessert. Port is a divine creation brought about from the Douro River, dumping into the Atlantic Ocean at Foz in do Douro. Portugal also harvests a collection of forth ripe grapes. Popular grapes from Portugal include Arinto, Touriga France and Tempranillo – to name a few. In Portugal, you can travel along the Alentejo Wine Route, also referred to Rota dos Vinhos do Alentejo, the version that rolls right off the tongue. This region consists of vineyards such as Quinta do Carmo and Herdad do Esporão – offering a revered blend of Cabernet Sauvignon grapes to make the Esporão Reserva. A must-see destination while frolicking in Portugal’s wine region is the historic Port lodges in Vilanova de Gaia. Ending up with a glass of Port, no matter how many wines you’ve tasted and consumed, is rather typical. This traditional blend is made at quintas all along the river gorge. If you’re interested in following the crowd, head to fan-favorite Casa de Casal de Loivos. Other popular spots include Quinta Vale D. Maria and Quinta do Vallado – located just outside Peso da Régua, the historic center of the Port trade.
To say that there are a lot of wine regions to choose from in France would be an understatement. From Alsace in the slopes of the Vosges mountains, home to Riesling and dry, fruity wines, to Provence, home to rosé and rich red wines from the Var – there is no shortage of destinations for your perfect wine journey. And while there’s a decline in wine production, there is still a lofty curation of vineyards and wineries that will wipe your palates cleans. Grapes that grow in the vines of France include Merlot, Carignan, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Grenache, Syrah and many more. If you’re very familiar with the vast collection of vino in France, then you might already know that the Languedoc region is the largest French wine producing area in terms of volume, and that the Champagne region breeds a distinct taste from its chalky soil and continental growing conditions. But if you’re not all that familiar – c’est bon. We recommend you choose the region that best fits your preference and go from there. And if you feel like you need more direction for your upcoming wine oblivion, here are some of the wineries and vineyards you should visit in France. Le Domaine de Vallettes , Domaine Coirier, Chåteau Cos d’Estournel and Chåteau des Demoiselles.
Oh, Canada. As if there needed to be another reason to head to this beautiful place – we have found a cherry on top to the perfect Canadian vacation. If you’re looking to take the road less traveled on your next wine adventure, Canada has the region for wine drinking season. The primary regions include the Niagara Peninsula in southern Ontario and the Okanagan Valley in southern British Columbia. Here, you can witness the industry take off on its slow and steady trek to landing on the map as a top wine destination. In fact, Canada features 29,500 acres of wine-growing landscapes with about 501 wineries to explore. If you want to take it back to where it all began, try spending the day imbibing in an assortment of wines from Good Cheer Trail, Canada’s first winery located in Nova Scotia. If you’re keen on the countryside, head to the Brome-Missisquoi region in Quebec to explore The Wine Route. Here, you can taste rosé, ice wines and more. Off Lake Ontario, you can find Prince Edward County and its up-and-coming vineyards. The limestone-rich soil helps to produce ripe grapes for a glass of Sauvignon Blanc or Syrah. But no region offers up a robust wine like the wines found along the Niagara Peninsula. This destination is home to Jackson-Triggs and Inniskillin and deems itself similar to the wine regions of France. What do you say, will you be the judge of that?
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