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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The World's Top Ten Most Famous Wine Regions and Wine Holiday Destinations Part 10: NEW ZEALAND.



Wine Regions of
New Zealand.
New Zealand is the last country in this ten part feature about the most famous wine regions and wine holiday destinations. Not that there are no more wine producing countries in the world apart from these ten. It could be that you might go to countries such as: Hungary, Greece, Austria etc. and you might enjoy a good wine tasting holiday as part of your overall vacation, but these ten are considered to be the top.

New Zealand lies isolated in the middle of the South pacific. The country is composed of two long main islands, called simply the North Island and the South Island. There are numerous offshore islands which form part of the archipelago.

New Zealand's vineyards are the southernmost in the world. They are also the first vineyards on earth to see the sun each day thanks to New Zealand's location close to the international date line.

The Best Sauvignon Blanc
in the World.
New Zealand was virtually unknown as a wine producing country up to the mid-1980's, when a single wine, sauvignon blanc, put this country on the international wine map.

New Zealand's top sauvignons are among the most exotic, vibrant, intensely flavoured sauvignon blancs in the world. Quite simply they taste like no other sauvignons made. Exquisite. The county's Chardonnays are also elegant. New Zealand's main grape growing region for these two garpe varieties is Marlborough on the South Island.

Vineyards and scenery.
40 per cent of New Zealand's vineyards are located on the North Island in the two largest and most important wine districts - Gisborne and Hawke's Bay, and the territory around Auckland were the greatest number of wineries can be found. Wairarapa/Martinbotough are famous for their Pinot Noir.

In 1973, Montana Wines planted vines in Marlborough on the South Island and pioneered what was to become one of the most prestigious wine districts in the whole country.
Nelson, Canterbury and Central Otago are smaller wine regions on the South Island but also worth a visit once there.

New Zealand's vineyards grow mainly the following grape varieties: Sauvignon Blanc; Chardonnay; Muller-Thurgau; Pinot Gris and Riesling for the production of white wine; and Cabernet Sauvignon; Merlot and Pinot Noir for their reds.

The Maori - New Zealand's
Ethnic people.
New Zealand food finds its origin from many places in the world starting from the Pacific, to Polynesia, Asia and Europe. All these influences have had great impact on what has become a cooking reference.
Maori Traditional Food
The Hangi.

Food in New Zealand is appreciated and shared in a relaxed and generous way. It is important to experience the way of life in a country by merging into its lifestyle. Food is one special way to do so. The Maori Hangi cuisine is a must to try when in New Zeland. It's the traditional way to merge with the ethnic people of this great country.

New Zealand Beef Bavette.
New Zealand Lamb.

New Zealand is a bit far off the beaten track, but it is a wonderfull country to visit if one can afford it and has the time to tour it. Remember that there are two very large main islands to tour.

Happy touring. Should you visit any of these ten countries, and should you have the opportunity to spend a few days in a wine region and to savour both the wines and the cuisine, please let us know. Tell us about your experiences and adventures.

New Zealand Kiwi.
New Zealand Wine.
Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc
And Cabernet Sauvignon.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The World's Top Ten Most Famous Wine Regions and Wine Holiday Destinations Part 9: SPAIN.

Wine Regions of Spain


Spain is the third largest wine producer in Europe behind France and Italy. This is due to very low yields and wide spacing of the old vines planted on dry, infertile soil found in many Spanish wine regions.

For many Spanish vintners now making wine with shiny high-tech equipment, it seems as though it was only just yesterday when they were stripping off their clothes, hopping into the vats and crushing the grape harvest by foot. For all the modernization that the country has experienced, Spanish winemakers continue to respect the wisdom of the old ways - and the exceptional flavours that results from them.

Tempranillo Grape.
Spain has over 600 varieties of native grapes, but the country's wine production comes only from some 20 of these grape varieties.

Rioja City View.
Spain's most famous wine destination is RIOJA, which is divided into three regions: Rioja Alta; Rioja Alavesa and Rioja Baja.
Most recognised for its outstanding red, produced from the tempranillo grape, the region's wines are particularly distinctive because of the oak aging and delicious vanilla flavours. Rioja's red wines are aged longer before release than any other wine in the world hence their high quality and body. Rioja is often tought of as Spain's Bordeaux, although its wines have a delicacy more reminiscent of Burgundy.
The beautiful vineyards of Rioja lie on the River Ebro valley, with mountains to the north. The distinctive orangey-red soils of the Rioja Alta accounting for at least half the wine production. The highest quality grapes come from Rioja Alavesa a wide slope on the north of the Ebro. The Rioja Baja is a warmer climate and lies significantly lower down the slope on a flat area, with soils of alluvial deposits.

Albarino best white wine for fish
and seafood in the World.
Ribera Del Duero which is known for their Tempranillo grape production are also famous wine destinations. Its most legendary and expensive red wine in Spain, Vega-Sicilia's Unico is made here.

Jerez on the other hand is famous for its Sherry.

Penedes is famous for its sparkling wine as well as numerous good wines made with a full-fruit style.

Rias Baixas famous for its exciting white wines, such as Albarino which is a racy, refreshing wine considered one of the best matches in the world for seafood.

One of the best
Rioja Crianza Wine.


Priorato is a tiny isolated wine region just west of Tarragona in Catalonia but is famous for its Cabernet Saivignon, Carinera, Garnacha, Merlot, Syrah and Tempranillo grape varieties from which are produced excellent world famous wines.

Spain is world famous for its paella which comes in all forms and sizes, and which can be enjoyed by all tastes:

Spanish Paella.

Spanish paella.
Spanish Paella.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The World's Top Ten Most Famous Wine Regions and Wine Holiday Destinations Part 8: PORTUGAL.


Wine regions.
More than any other European country, Portugal has remained steepped in tradition even as it has modernized. The grapes for certain wines are still painstakingly trodden by foot in ancient lagers, and in the hilly wine regions of the northeast, vineyards must still be worked by hand.

Pressing grapes by foot.
Historically, there have been two Portugals - the Portugal that made Port and the Portugal that made dry table wines.

Portugal is more known for its Port, than for its wine. Port is of course a sweet, fortified wine that can be aged for centuries. Port comes from only one place in the world, that is the 70-mile-long demarcated Port region in the Douro river valley. In Portugal the river cuts a gorgelike valley through the arid, rocky, unforgiving land, ultimately crossing the entire country and washing into the Atlantic at the town of Oporto, which by the way is the town that Port derived its name from.
Madeira is also famous in Portugal.

The beautiful Douro Valley.
The most highly rated wines from Portugal are produced in the Barca Velha located within the Douro region which is an unforgiving region with vineyards on the sheer, steep hillsides of the valley and with long hot summers.

Madeira bottles.
The most famous wines of Portugal apart from Port and Madeira, are:
Alentejo - red;
Bairrada - red;
Dao - red;
Douro - red;
Vinho verde - white
Setubal - white (fortified, sweet).

Vintage port.
Portuguese wine tours are very romantic, once organised professionally. The wine lodges of Oporto and the Quintas of the Douro Valley are landmarks on any fine wine lovers map. Wine tourism has developed faster in Portugal than in Spain, as the Portugues realized decades ago the value of their wine heritage.

Pasteis De Nata.
Portugese Stuffed Squid.

Portugese Fried Cod..

Anyone can go to lodges on their own, but special VIP private tours are organized by top operators where vineyard owners and winemakers themselves will be hosts to the participants, with visits to hidden restaurants, and sampling of Portugues cuisine and the best wines, Ports and Madiera.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The World's Top Ten Most Famous Wine Regions and Wine Holiday Destinations Part 7: CHILE.


Wine Regions Map
of Chile.
Chile surprised the wine industry by going from producing mediocre wines in the 1940's/1990's, to putting out an excellent product that stands up well to all other New World wines as well as to French wines and wines from other more established wine makers, in just the last ten years or so.

Chile's Central Valley, where most of its wine is produced, is made up of various sub-regions, such as: the Maipo, Rapel, Cachapoal, Mataquito and Maule Valleys.

View of the Maipo Valley Terrain.
The Maipo Valley produces high quality, affordable reds, out of Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Merlot grapes.The flavour found here range from fruity to full-bodied, and the world has responded well to Chilean exports. The Santa Rita vineyard alone ships around 340,000 bottles per year to consumers in the US and thousands more worldwide. The Cabernets and Chardonnays of this region are superlative

As a tourist destination, the Maipo Valley, just outside the Chilean Capital of Santiago, and set among the Andes Mountains and the Pacific Ocean is internationally acclaimed.

Carmenere Grape Cluster.
Chile also has a world renowned indegenous grape variety which was for some time passed on as Merlot. This grape is the Carmenere' which, some say was taken to Chile from France in the 1800's.  Carmenere has thrived in Chile, and has now become synonymous with this country as its own national grape variety, in the same way as Malbec has done for Argentina.

Tours in Chile are organised by various reputable operators internationally and may include: Santiago; The Wine Valleys, vineyards and winemakers; Patagonia; the Atacama desert; and of course various culinary and wine tasting tours. A trip to Chile is an adventure in its own right.

Traditional Food and wine in Chile are abundant and make a deliciuos change from cuisine found in European countries:

Chilean Charquican.
A Premium wine
from Chile.
Chilean Charquican is a slow cooked beef stew in which dried beef (chaqui) is used, with added vegetbales in season and beans. The serving in a bowl shaped plate is traditionally served with a fried egg on top, as well as with Chilean flat bread to dip in.

Chilean Traditional Pot-Roast.

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Sunday, January 1, 2012

A Very Happy New Year 2012 To All.

Your Host: Reno Spiteri
I would like to wish you all a: