A deeper look at Spain, Chile and South Africa and their wines.
For many of us, we have a preferred wine we love to drink and we don’t veer to far from that particular wine. For some it’s grape varietal- I know some people that only want Sauvignon Blanc, or Chardonnay, or others who want to drink only Italian wine. But with global warming, and the landscape of the wine industry shifting, there is so much more available to try and some great wine is being produced around the world. Here are my top 3 wine regions to look out for:
Spain has been making wine for year and years. There are a number of regions throughout the country that produce anything from crisp white easy drinking wine, to aged Port, and everything in between. I am currently very much in love with Spanish wine and find the versatility and diverse options make Spanish wine suitable with almost any meal you are trying to make. Wines to try from Spain:
Cava is a sparkling delight that is a great option for bubbles at a very reasonable price! Cava is made the same way that Champagne is made, and often has very similar flavour profile as Champagne, it is a wonderful option for appetizers, or as a palate cleanser, most Cava is dry and can be made in white or rose options.
Rioja- this full-bodied red wine is made up of different grape varietals and is often aged for a number of years by the producer before it is released for purchase. What this means- immediate gratification- no need to store or cellar this wine for long periods of time- you can drink an aged wine as soon as you have purchased it! If you like full-bodied red wines- Rioja is a great option- jammy red fruit, vanilla, savoury notes, this complex wine is delicious!
Ribera del Duero is another full-bodied red wine with a different flavour profile compared to Rioja, this wine is also a blend of multiple grape varietals that is also aged for a number of years by the producer before it is released. If you enjoy California Cab Sauv, I urge you to try some Ribera del Duero. Very often oak is evident with smoke and vanilla, and the fruit is red. Give it a try!
Chile is very much an up and coming wine region producing some great value for money wines, to iconic cult wines and some pretty interesting wines in between. The climate and terroir of the country varies vastly, from coastal areas, to high altitude sites in the Andes.
Cabernet Sauvignon is the most widely planted grape varietal planted there, and you can find anything from deep dark black fruit wines to more red jammy fruit cab sauvs. Pay attention to where the wine is from within Chile- Maipo makes some more dark, spicy cab sauv. For around $20.00 and under, you can pick up a bottle to try.
Chardonnay- second most planted grape variety in Chile; Chardonnay from Chile has the fruit profile you would find from California, with some added acidity. These are great price point for value and awesome option for your next Chardonnay fix!
Most often, when I mention South African wine to the inexperienced wine drinker, they think of Two Oceans brand, a mass-produced wine with little to no South African personality- and I cringe! South Africa produces some extremely interesting wines that have their own unique personality and flavour profile. With the region still up and coming- at least for us North Americans, the wines you can find from South Africa are absolutely amazing for the price point compared to quality and complexity. Wine to try from South Africa:
Chenin Blanc is a crisp white wine with a lot of complexity. It has floral aromas, citrus, stone fruit and sometimes is aged in oak. I think of it as the best of Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay in one wine. South African produces some amazing Chenin Blanc, and it is definitely worth the try. From a price perspective, you can find a lot of this under $20.00, which is a steal. Next time you are grilling fish, pick up a bottle of Chenin Blanc and enjoy!
Stellenbosch wine region is often referred to South Africa’s Napa. There are some wonderful full-bodied red wines produced here. A distinct flavour of this wine region is the minerality that is evident in the wines. The terroir driven wines are interesting, distinct and delicious. Pick one up with your next steak dinner; you will not be disappointed.
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