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Travel the world in 8 wines

From Malbec in Argentina to Shiraz in Australia, let’s travel the world in 8 wines

Published on 26 Nov 2018

All around the world, we can experience different cultures, lifestyles and cuisines. Wine is a fantastic example of how different climates and landscapes across the continents shape the produce that is grown there to create something unique to the area. Even though you can reproduce the same types of wine in other countries, each blend brings something different and is unique in its own right. When travelling on a world cruise, you’ll be able to experience this first-hand and will find that even the simplest of things, like a glass of wine, can change considerably from country to country. 

In this article, we travel around the world in eight wines. Starting in Argentina and ending in the United States of America, we look at some of the best wines you can sample around the globe. 

Malbec, Argentina

Sweet and rich notes reminiscent of cooked fruit which offer a burst of flavour

Originally from the south of France, Malbec has now found its firm home in Argentina. It was traditionally known as the black wine of Cahors due to the intensely dark colouring of its berries and its place of origin. The grape is now the most widely grown in Argentina and the high temperatures gifted by the climate mean these wines often have soft, ripe tannins along with high levels of alcohol.

Pair Malbec with: Malbec pairs well with red meats, hard cheeses and rich tomato sauces. 

Shiraz, Australia

Rich, fruity wine with notes of blackberry, chocolate and liquorice

Shiraz was one of the first varieties of wine brought to Australia and has established itself well in the country. In fact, with vineyards dating back to 1843, Australia is home to the world’s oldest Shiraz vineyard that is still producing grapes. Shiraz is grown in every wine region of Australia which gives it a complex array of flavours just from one country. Thanks to the high levels of tannins in Shiraz, it is thought of being one of the healthiest red wines. 

We chatted with Stuart from Wine Australia who told us why Australian wine is a must-try when in the country, “Australia’s unique climate and landscape have fostered a fiercely independent wine scene, home to a vibrant community of growers, winemakers, viticulturists and vignerons. With more than 100 grape varieties grown across 65 distinct wine regions, we have the freedom to make exceptional wine. We’re not beholden by tradition but continue to create our own traditions and push the boundaries in the pursuit of the most diverse, thrilling wines in the world. There is something for everyone.” 

Casey from The Travelling Corkscrew has been a wine blogger since 2010. “When I was 15, my after-school job involved helping out at a local winery, where I helped in the vineyard, winery and labelled my fair share of wine bottles. Since then, my interest in the wine world has continued to grow one sip at a time. 

“The Australian wine scene is simply buzzing and Shiraz is an Australian wine icon. It is the most widely planted red wine grape variety and is grown in every single wine region in the country. It’s a pretty versatile grape, as it can be grown in both cool and warm climates which means it produces a wide variety of styles.” 

Pair Shiraz with: Hearty meat dishes like barbecue or beef stew and strong hard cheeses. 

Riesling, Germany

Sweet with notes of nectarine, apricot, honeycomb and lime

A white grape, Riesling wine is a sweet and aromatic blend that originated in the Rhine region of Germany. Thanks to its traditionally cooling flavours, it's considered one of the best wines to pair with powerful flavours, particularly spicy dishes. It’s also highly terroir expressive, which means its flavour changes greatly depending on where the grapes are grown, which gives every bottle its own unique flavouring and characteristics. 

We caught up with the team at Wines of Germany about Riseling’s key characteristics, “The wines all share a firm, fruity acidity - but each has their differences due to the range of regions, terriers and ripeness at harvest. These natural factors are reflected in Riesling’s broad spectrum of aromas and flavours, ranging from citrus or crisp apple to ripe peaches or tropical fruit, often layered with a mineral, herbal or spicy finesse. 

“You can find Rieslings from bone dry to super sweet, which makes it an extraordinarily versatile food partner - some of the ‘classic’ pairings for Riesling are blue cheeses for the sweeter styles and Asian foods, as Rieslings aromatics and sweetness work well with spicier notes.”

Pair Riesling with: Riesling wine can be paired with both light, delicate dishes and meals with rich flavour. 

Sake, Japan

Fruity, nutty and caramel-like flavour, richness described as somewhat ‘unami’ or savoury

Sake is unlike any other wine on this list, as it is traditionally created by fermenting rice rather than grapes. This means the flavour of Sake is unlike the flavourings of any other wine and it’s actually more akin to beer. Sake is thought to have been created as early as the third century and thus has a rich history and practices associated with it. For example, it’s traditional to serve Sake in your guest's cup, but not your own. 

Pair Sake with: The most popular Sake is very dry and pairs well with pork belly or fish dishes. However, lighter and more aromatic Sake is recommended for sushi and ramen. 

Malvasia, Lanzarote

Clean, crisp wine with notes of peach, apricot and white currants

Malvasia is a wine grown in the hot climates of the Mediterranean and the Canary Islands. But it’s actually on the island of Lanzarote that the wine is most popular. The incredibly unique volcanic black soil of the island gives it a distinctive flavouring, although the grapes have to be cultivated in a different way to normal vine growing. Malvasia was popularised by William Shakespeare, who references it in several of his works, including Twelfth Night, The Merry Wives of Windsor and Henry IV. 

Wine Tours Lanzarote told us why everyone should try Malvasia, “While in Lanzarote, trying the Malvasia Volcanica is quite simply a must. Not only is this varietal unique to the island, but so little is produced that you’re unlikely to find a bottle anywhere else. 

“Lanzarote falls outside of the norm in terms of its geographical position for winemaking, which was only made possible following the famous volcanic eruptions on the island in the years 1730 to 1736. The volcanic ash that fell on the soils was a winemaking miracle and is the only reason why the vines can withstand the distinct lack of rainfall on the island. This has led to a unique and spectacular landscape, with viticulture that needs to be seen to be believed. The pre-phylloxera vines, many of which are well over 100 years old, are grown in deep pits in the volcanic ash and  the mineral-rich soils which lie beneath, shine through into the wines.” 

We asked the team what Malvasia should be paired with, “The crisp, tropical and citrus flavours of Malvasia Volcanica match perfectly with the climate of the island and also go great with some freshly landed local fish. Or why not try one of the sweet Malvasias with some delicious, cured, local goat's cheese? After all, it was the sweet Malvasias of the Canaries that in the 16th century were sought after the world over.” 

Pair Malvasia with: Fresh seafood dishes and light, creamy desserts. 

Port, Portugal

Rich flavours with notes of raspberry, blackberry, caramel and chocolate

Port is a fortified wine produced exclusively in the Douro Valley in the northern provinces of Portugal. Fortified wines have a distilled spirit added to them, which, in the case of traditional Port, is a neutral grape spirit. This adds more sugar to the drink and also raises the alcohol level. Port is named after the city of Porto which sits at the mouth of the Douro River and is thought of as the home of this delicious tipple. 

We chatted with André from Taste Porto, “Port wine is a magical beverage, which has its foundations in Roman times, later coming to be the first appellation wine region in the world. Its uniqueness comes from the combination of a breathtaking landscape shaped by man to grow grapes, one-of-a-kind indigenous grape varietals and a harsh climate, that almost makes it impossible for vineyards to withstand such conditions. The final result is a taste of heaven to your palate, that you can use as an appetiser beverage, to go with a meal or to go along with desserts. You can even prepare cocktails, such as Porto Tonic, with white Port wine, tonic water, ice and lemon zest.” 

Pair Port with: A salty cheese or a rich, chocolatey dessert. 

Chenin Blanc, South Africa

Fresh and fruity with tart notes of Granny Smith apples and lime

Chenin Blanc is one of the least well-known wines on this list, but it is incredibly popular in South Africa. Originally from the Loire Valley of France, it is now South Africa’s most widely planted grape and is known locally as Steen. This grape has high levels of acidity, which makes it perfect for sparkling wines as well as dessert wines. A typical Chenin Blanc has an off-dry clean and crisp flavour, perfect for refreshment under the South African sun. 

Michale from Time Travel Turtle told us, “When you start to learn about Chenin Blanc, you wonder why the grape has historically not been better known around the world. It is, in many ways, a perfect mainstream wine. But the South Africans don’t need to be told this - they’ve been making the most of its potential for a long time. 

“Chenin Blanc is an aromatic varietal that can be used to make a range of white wines from dry to sweet. It’s a relatively sturdy grape to grow and is generally quite affordable for the consumer. It can also make great wines that will age well, unlike many other white varietals. When you’re visiting South Africa, you’ll find a delightful range of flavours as you taste different Chenin Blancs.” 

We also spoke to Allison from Please the Palate, “Chenin Blanc is one of those white wines that if you know it, you love it. While it has been underappreciated by many, it is loved by others. It is a versatile wine that can produce sparkling or still wine and dry or sweet wine. It is the most popular white wine grape in South Africa and represents 18% of the total vineyard plantings. What makes Chenin Blanc so enjoyable to drink is that it has a beautiful texture and mouthfeel. The wine can have aromas that include pineapple, apricot, peach, papaya, apple, citrus and minerals and on the palate, it offers bright acidity.” 

Pair Chenin Blanc with: Strong flavoured dishes like curries or warm fruit desserts. 

Chardonnay, United States of America

Crisp wine with notes of green apple, fig and citrus. When aged it produces buttery overtones

Chardonnay is one of the most popular white wines in the world, and although the grapes originated in the Burgundy wine region of France, they are now grown all around the world. One of the major locations is California, which is the fourth largest wine producer in the world, and whose most-grown grape is Chardonnay. It was first grown in the 1940s but by 2005, California could account for almost a quarter of the world’s total Chardonnay plantings. The characteristics of a Californian Chardonnay are fruity notes of mango and guava, which makes for a refreshingly light wine.

Pair Chardonnay with: Soft cheeses, light fish dishes and light meats like chicken or turkey. 

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