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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The World's Top Ten Most Famous Wine Regions and Wine Holiday Destinations Part 2: ITALY.

Italy's Wine Regions.


The second most important, wine country in the world,  is without a doubt Italy. Within this European country, one finds no less than twenty vast wine regions, all of which can boast their own indigenious grape varieties and unique wine making traditions. The specific terroirs of the Italian wine regions, and actual macro and micro climatic conditions, make Italian wine varietals exclusive to these regions as no other country in the world can produce Barolo, Barbaresco, Amarone, Brunello di Montalcino or premium Riserva Chianti.  Italy as a country is one of the most beautiful and historic countries of Europe, and not only does it boast some of the very best, authentic and unique wines, but the various provinces and regions offer some of the most appetizing and sought after cuisine in the world. 

Tuscany Wine map.
Tuscany is famous for its Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, and its transcendent selection of "Super Tuscan" superlative wines.
As a destination the Tuscan region of Italy is a delight for the senses. Tuscany is celebrated not only for its vineyards and cuisine, its sheer national and historic beauty make it one of the world's most sought after destinations and a magical place to taste the local produce in food and wine. Famous cuisine in Tuscany include the renowned Bistecca a la Fiorentina; Braised wild boar; ribolita soup; and various variations of pasta and sauces.

Pasta with Wild Boar Sauce
Braised Wild boar

Tartufo D'Alba.
Piedmont (sometimes written as Piemonte), is the region where the Nebbiolo grape grows. This grape variety is difficult to grow anywhere else not only in Italy but more so around the world. Piedmont is where wine afficionados can indulge in the best Barolos, Barbarescos, Barberas from Asto or Alba, the mild Dolcettos, Moscato and the well known Gavi as this region is also home to the Cortese grape variety which is what Gavi, or Gavi di Gavi wine is produed from. Famous cheeses such as Gorgonzola and Bra come from this region and polenta is more popular than pasta. Meats are more likely to be found in stews rather than grilled. Of course one can also go hunting for Alba's white truffles which could make one very rich if found.

Other excellent wine destinations and regions in Italy are Lazio outside Rome with its Cesanese del Piglio; Umbria with its Orvieto; Emilia-Romagna famous for its Lambrusco; the Veneto best known for its Amarone, Ripasso, Bardolino, Valpolicella and Soave; Fruili-Venezia Giulia for its Ramandolo; Lombardy exceptional for its food and Nebiolo;

Bistecca a la Fiorentina
Parma Ham.

Campania and Basilicata for their  Fiano di Avellino,  Greco and Falaghina, and the indegenious Aglianico which gifts this region with the Taurasi DOCG wines.

Apuglia for its Primitivo and Negroamaro, and Montefalco in Umbria for the famous and unique Sagrantino di Montefalco.
Then we have other regions such as the:
Aosta Valley;
The Italian Riviera;
Trentino-Alto Adige;
Marche for its Verdicchio;
Abruzzo for Trebiano;

Spaghetti with tomato sauce.
Pizza Funghi Sicily.
Pizza Margherita.

And in the south we have:

Sicily famous for its Nero D'Avola, Zibibbo. Primitivo and for its Marsala;

and of course Sardinia famous for its Vermentino, and which is a destination on its own.

Slow cooked Osso Buco
Suckling Pig-Sardinia.

If one should require more information of the wines of Italy and also about the Italian grape varieties I recommend reading previous features in this website that deal specifically with these subjects.

Italy is only a short flight away from Malta, and can be reached internationally from all over the world. Various wine tours are available for the professional as well as for enthusiastic wine tourists. Our advice is to always organize speciality and dedicated wine oriented holidays through a specialist operator.

Until next week then for our third region, enjoy yourselves and salute'.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The World's Top Ten Most Famous Wine Regions and Wine Holiday Destinations Part 1: France.

Tuesday, 22nd November, 2011.
This week I am going to start a new series of features through which I shall be introducing to you the World's most famous, ten, wine regions and wine holiday destinations for both the professional and enthusiastic wine tourist.
In addition to producing the finest wines in the world and to the world, these destinations offer visitors outstanding hotels, top gourmet restaurants offering exquisite local cuisine, and exclusive wine tours, which are a must for every wine lover.

French Wine Regions.
 The first of these ten world regions without a shadow of doubt is:


France is possibly and without doubt, one of the most famous wine countries in the world. It has been a stand-out wine producer for centuries and its wines are not only world famous but also known to connoisseurs through various, exclusive, Chateaux names, brand names and fine wine styles through France’s appellation system.

Typical wine region landscape in France.
Burgundy with its Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, and Bordeaux with its Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, are the most famous wine destinations in France, and both have long been renowned for their vineyards that produce everything from delicious table wines to the most expensive bottles in the world. In both Burgundy and Bordeaux, the French passion for food and wine unite for a sensational wine-tasting experience.

Champagne-Ardenne, is the province most famous for the beloved sparkling white wine that bears its name. Its neatly tended vineyards situated amongst a picturesque, natural landscape, rich history, and unique culture makes this region as vibrant as its effervescent wine.

Then we have the Loire Valley which is a massive wine producing region that stretches from the coast near Nantes right through to Saumur, Anjou and Vouvray. In this region one can enjoy the best Muscadet, Cabernet Franc, Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc and the exclusive Gamay reds.

Alsace with its famous Riesling and Pinot Gris, and then there is the Rhone Valley - the famous Cotes du Rhone, and the Languedoc region and Roussillon, with their numerous towns like Chablis and Beaujolais, and their famous Syrah and Viogner, and the well known Chablis whites and Beaujolais reds which carry the names of their town of origin. There is also Provence and Corsica on the Mediterranean side of France.

Writing about France and its wine is a never ending story. It is definitely a must for any prospective wine tourist to visit. One has to bear in mind that a wine tasting holiday is vastly differrent from a visit to Paris and its city culture. The wine regions offer a rustic experience of exquisite countryside and terroirs, exclusive wines, and sublime food.

Good planning is a must and preferably should be done through a renowned operator and organizer from within the region that one is planning to visit.