Wines of the World
Brush up on your vino IQ with some worldy wines.
By Kellie Davenport
As the festive season approaches, it’s time to replenish your wine cabinet. To really impress your guests, brush up on some worldly wine knowledge. You’ll be pouring and pairing like a sommelier in no time!
Known for: Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Gamay
Wine IQ: The Niagara Region, sheltered by Lakes Ontario and Erie, offers a microclimate within Ontario – making it an area ripe for wine production. Wine-producing grapes that thrive here are usually heartier varieties, similar to those grown in Germany. Thanks to crisp Canadian winters, Niagara ice wines are also some of the best in the world.
Try: Dan Aykroyd Sauvignon Blanc, East Dell Estates Gamay Noir
Known for: Pinot Gris, Merlot, Chardonnay
Wine IQ: The province’s main wine regions are the Okanagan and Similkameen Valley – both of which boast hot summers and low rainfall. Wine production has a long history here – the first vines were planted back in 1859. Since then, the industry has skyrocketed, from 17 wineries in 1990 to 215 vineyards today with more than 9,800 acres planted.
Try: Poplar Grove Chardonnay, See Ya Later Ranch Pinot Gris
Known for: Malbec
Wine IQ: Did you know that Argentina is the world’s sixth largest wine-producing nation today (behind France, Italy, Spain, the U.S. and China)? It’s also home to the largest acreage of Malbec grapes in the world, with the Mendoza region at its heart.
Try: Graffigna Centenario Reserve Malbec, Masi Tupungato Passo Doble
Known for: Pinot Noir, Zinfandel
Wine IQ: Sunny California is like paradise for grapes. Loads of sunshine, diverse soils and warm breezes provide a long grape-growing season. Because the state features such diverse landscapes, winemakers can grow virtually any kind of grape, though they are perhaps most famous for their full-bodied reds and refreshing rosés.
Try: Beringer White Zinfandel, Meiomi Pinot Noir
Known for: Riesling, Gewürztraminer
Wine IQ: While it’s usually associated with beer, Germany maintains a long and illustrious wine heritage, with no less than 13 wine-producing regions in the country. By far, the most popular grape grown is Riesling, accounting for one-fifth of all plantings in the country. That’s welcome news for oenophiles as German Rieslings are crisp, tangy and pair well with virtually every cuisine.
Try: Deinhard Green Label Riesling, Pfaffenheim Gewürztraminer
Known for: Shiraz
Wine IQ: As the world’s seventh largest wine producer, Australia exports more than 750 million litres of the good stuff every year. And it boasts an impressive number of winemakers – about 2,000 at last count! Shiraz has become the country’s best loved and most produced varietal, thanks to its hearty nature and bold flavour.
Try: The Lucky Country Shiraz