Wine differences by region.

vinadamo wine regions

When looking a the long list of options in wine bars, you will often find that bottles are grouped by region. This is not by chance, as there are very distinctive characteristics of wines which vary from country to country, irrespective of the type of grapes or the techniques employed. Winemaking is an ancient art which has developed over hundreds of years and has become an important part of the cultures of different populations. Tasting wines from different regions is a bit like travelling, and we are fortunate enough to be able to do that from the comfort of a great wine bar in our home town. Understanding the differences and similarities of wines by region will help us appreciate our bottles even more, and is a great topic of conversation for an informal evening with friends.

You may have heard the terms Old World wines and New World wines and wonder what that means and why is that relevant. By old world wines, we usually mean wines coming from Europe or North Africa. New world wines are American, South American, South African and Australian. The main difference between these two categories comes down to winemaking techniques and what the winemakers choose to emphasise during production. Old world wine tends to be lighter, with less alcohol and slightly higher acidity. New world wine is bold, with higher alcohol content and distinctive fruity flavours. These are some general guidelines to distinguish the two categories, but you will find several exceptions in many countries. Italy for example is a region known for its excellent wines, but also its diverse climate. The continental weather of the north and inner parts of the country is in contrast with the warmer climate on its vast coastline. You will find some typical old world wines, but also some surprisingly bold fruity ones.

Aside from this broad categorisation, we can also look at some famous wine regions and what makes them special. California is a state with a long and proud tradition of winemaking in the U.S. . This is possible thanks to its wonderful and diverse climate, which can vary dramatically from north to south and aids different types of grapes to reach their full potential. There are over 100 different varieties of grapes in California, so to make a statement as to what Californian wine taste like is quite hard. However, as a New World region, California tends to produce more fruity and less mineral wines than the same grape varieties in Italy or France. Californians are very proud of their intense flavours and statement bottles.

Within the old world, the most well-known country for winemaking is France. It is associated with a long history and passion for wines and foods. French wines are a synonym for class and elegance, thanks to their subtle and understated aromas. Despite the fierce competition from many other regions around the world, France still holds the reputation for making the best wine. The French would say this is because their wines have stayed true to their origins for hundreds of years; winemakers favour tradition as opposed to innovation, perfecting their winemaking techniques and working extremely hard to improve soil conditions. Soil composition has dramatic consequences on wine quality, and the French have recognised this before anyone else. The result is extremely balanced fine wines, with many nuances and undertones to them. If you attend a wine tasting event, you will find that is easier to recognise a large number of fruits and flowers in French wines in comparison to any other region in the world.

When it comes to South American wines, the first country that we think of is Argentina. Argentina has some of the oldest vines in the world. This allows for a reduction in the use of pesticides, and some of the best organic varieties of wine in the world. Argentina has always been big on “clean wine” and respect for nature. One of the striking characteristics of Argentinian landscapes is their extremely high altitude. Humidity in these areas is generally low, resulting in rich reds and its world-famous Malbec. This grape was originally imported from Bordeaux in the 19th century and has since then developed a very different taste in comparison with other French red wines.

South African wine is unique because it often balances some of the characteristics of old world wines with that of new world wines. The vast majority of winemaking facilities are in Western Cape, in the southwest of the country. This is because this region benefits from a Mediterranean type of climate, with warm dry summers and mild humid winters. Other parts of South Africa can get extremely hot which is not great for the growth of grapes. South African wines tend to come from very ripe grapes, hence they usually have high alcohol content. The unique cool breeze of Western Cape helps balance the strength of the alcohol by aiding the right amount of acidity to develop in the wines, making them fresh and gentle on the palate.

Last but not least, Australia produces a huge variety of different wines that have nothing to envy to their old-world counterparts. Australia is a huge country with very different types of soils. You will find anything from light crispy whites to strong full-bodied reds. Wine lovers are passionate about the innovation and new aromas that Australian wines bring to the table. As a country with a relatively short history of winemaking but huge potential thanks to its grapes variety, Australia strives to bring something new and bold to the table. Australian wines are experimental and exciting, but winemakers also pay a lot of attention to their drinkability. They want to make sure their product is versatile enough and easy on the palate to be consumed alongside different foods. Australia also has an eye on sustainability, which is an important topic in recent times. As a huge country with an incredibly vast wine industry, Australia has the potential of making a strong positive impact on the environment.

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