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New World

Australia

Australia

Although Australia is a vast country, its vineyards are confined to the cooler southern regions furthest from the equator. Australia’s wines have a global reach and a willing audience as far afield as Japan, North America, UK and Scandinavia, and all since the launch of the first commercial Chardonnay a mere 40 years ago.

New Zealand

New Zealand

As one of the UK’s Commonwealth countries, New Zealand is firmly on the cultural map because of a white wine called Sauvignon Blanc. Sauvignon Blanc began its sheltered life in the Loire valley near Sancerre, just south of Paris. We know that the noble grapes of France have travelled the world and taken root in many countries, but no single variety has embedded itself so firmly within the DNA of a nation.

South Africa

South Africa

The uncomplicated and relatively inexpensive white wines we associate with South Africa, born of vineyards radiating from Cape Town, are Colombard and Chenin Blanc. But in cooler areas the vineyards can deliver apple-crisp Sauvignon Blanc and some compelling Pinot Noir. Inland, emanating from the region of Stellenboch, we taste the beating heart of South African red wine – Pinotage. A wine perhaps not for the gentle-hearted, this cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsaut, displays roasted flavours with a robust fruitiness and almost always benefits from a little taming in oak.

Argentina

Argentina

If Chile boasts the consistency of a Mediterranean climate, Argentina has to contend with a range of less predictable microclimates. Wine profiles vary widely here too but provide unusual and exciting wines. Following the demands of an unfettered wine-drinking public, unique varieties such as Torrontés, on vacation from its native Spain, has proved something of a contemporary food-friendly wine with its crisp grip and delightful spice-scented aromas. Argentina has in turn tamed the robustly tannic, dark skinned Tannat from Madiran in France, to provide a far more approachable red.

Chile

Chile

If one were to name a perfect wine-producing environment, then Chile may well steal the trophy. Snow-melt from the Andes provides natural irrigation across the vast plains that sit conveniently at the foot of its mountains. Wines, at least the reds, are sweet-fruited with naturally soft tannins. Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot thrive, but the former hero of Bordeaux blending - the newly fashionable Carmenère grape - has become firmly identified as the long-term resident, which now borders on squatter’s rights. Chardonnay is leading the charge here.

USA

USA

The USA is the fourth largest producer of table wine in the world. Notably it was a grape of Italian descent- Primitivo that appears to have genetically transformed itself into California’s indigenous world-class variety – Zinfandel. Elegant, cool-climate grapes such as German Riesling and the Burgundian Pinot Noir are carefully nurtured further north in Oregon and Washington, although like Burgundy, Oregon Pinot Noirs offer uber-rarified reds, with a price tag to match.

Greece and Lebanon

Greece and Lebanon

Most visitors to Greece frequently repeat the thorny tale that Greek grape varieties were, to many early tourists almost unpronounceable. Their principal culinary memory was of the citrus and pine-nuanced Retsina, gulped down to regulate the earthy flavours of stuffed vine leaves or gelatinous lamb shanks. Greek wine today offers so much more. As one of the last guardians of a truly Mediterranean diet, Greece and its wines will surprise and thrill.