There comes a time when a man’s palate begins to change significantly: Beer somehow seems less satisfying — more and more reminiscent of freshman year. From this point on, fine wines and single malts appeal. The choices can be daunting, but the rewards — from nailing the right bottle of wine to accompany a meal to gaining the apprecation of your partner — are great.
So why not book your next vacation as an academic trip: by going to a great wine-producing region and sampling some of the local stuff? The luxury-travel experts over at Insight Guides have put together a list of the best wine-producing countries to visit this summer.
Despite tough competition from Italy, the French still pump out more vino than anywhere else in the world. Although other nations consume more wine overall – guess who? – no other nation consumes more wine per person than France. Grapes are grown all over, especially in the south. France’s most famous labels include Chateauneuf-du-Pape and Chateau Simone Palette Rouge.
Coming in second is Italy, a country that loves to produce and consume wine in equal measure. Like France, Italy has also scaled down its production but boasts some of the oldest and most well-known regions in the world, such as Tuscany. Red wine is intrinsically linked to Italian cuisine, and is used in many dishes as part of the sauce, perhaps most famously in Bolognese. Italy’s most notable labels are Chianti and Montepulciano d’Abruzzo.
South Africa’s Mediterranean-style climate makes it ideal for grape production, and the country attracts plenty of recognition for its high-quality labels. Wine has been produced in South Africa as far back as 1659, but recent gaps in the market left by European counterparts have given S.A. a global stage on which to flaunt its wares. The region produces the fantastic Chenin Blanc.
You might be surprised that you don’t have to venture abroad to visit one of the world’s best wine countries: Lately, our wine game has gone from strength to strength. The U.S. is the fourth-largest producer in the world; in 2014 more wine was bought in the USA than anywhere else. Almost all of the wine we produce is from grapes grown in California by Gallo. Our best labels include Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
Argentina’s production and export rate grew by 8% last year, the largest increase by any country in the top five. As in Italy, wine and cuisine are closely linked here — picture juicy steaks paired with a nice glass of Malbec. Argentina’s wine history dates to the 1500s, when Spanish missionaries first planted grape seeds in the region’s fertile soil. But it wasn’t until about the mid-1990s when Argentina became a major wine exporter; soon, Argentina became South America’s biggest wine producer, usurping Chile in the process.