When it comes to European wine regions, France and Italy hog all of the spotlight. However, Spain has been producing quality wine for the past 700 years, too. The Iberian peninsula's most popular wine making appellation is the Rioja. Situated just below the Pais Vasco in the central Northeast of Spain, Rioja is known for one grape in particular, Tempranillo. Over 90 percent of the wine produced in Rioja is red and 85 percent of this is Tempranillo. Don't be intimidated if you're not a huge red wine drinker, Rioja also produces plenty of rose and white Tempranillo. To find out why you should be asking for Rioja at your local wine shop, read on.
One of my favorite things about wine is that there's so much to learn about it! There's always a new varietal to taste or an exciting region to try. Recently I went to a tasting that featured wines from the Santa Rita Hills. This small, relatively young wine region is located in Central California and was named an official appellation in 2001. Thanks to its close proximity to the Pacific Ocean, this foggy district is perfect for growing Pinot Noir grapes. A cool coastal breeze and naturally rocky terrain only enhances its grape-growing qualities. Other varietals the area is known for are Chardonnay and Syrah. To see which wines from the province, which were featured in the film Sideways, I recommend, keep reading.