Category Archives: Countries & Regions

Please take the time to browse through our section on wine producing countries and classic wine regions of the world. We hope to provide some insightful information that may assist you in your wine buying exploits.

Wine By Region | Spain – Andalucía

Andalucia Wine GuideThe Andalucía region of southwestern Spain is home to the world famous fine wines of Sherry, which takes its name from the town of Jerez and also the dessert style wines of Montilla-Moriles (DO).

These ancient lands have been planted to vineyards for nearly 3,000 years. But this part of Iberia was long under the control of the Moors and Islam and winemaking was discouraged, if not outright forbidden, here from 711 to 1492.

For many visitors to the region Andalucía can appear to be more moonscape rather than landscape; hot and arid, rugged and hard. But remarkably Andalucía’s mountains carry other possibilities. With abrupt shifts in elevation, fascinating dessert wines have been produced within areas such as Montilla-Moriles and Málaga and with temperatures easily surpassing 100°F in the summer, this is an area ideal for the production of fortified and dessert style wines.
Andalucía’s most famous wine area, Jerez (Sherry), receives more rainfall than most other parts of southern Spain. That rain is captured by the special limestone-rich soils of the area, called ‘albariza’, that bake in the summer sun into a hard crust, trapping cool moisture for the vines’ needs.

Understanding Sherry and its complexities is a bit of a minefield and can leave many bewildered by the various styles and types. But it is quite simple: Sherry is fortified wine. However, it’s fortified after the fermentation, so unlike Port, all Sherry begins its life as a dry wine.

Sherry is initially classified as one of two wines: Fino or Olosoro. A Fino is intended to be a light, crisp, delicate wine even at its usual alcohol level of 15% or more. The great Finos are aged in barrel underneath a yeast film called ‘flor’ (or ‘flower’) which protects the wine from oxygen, adding flavours and aromas as well.

Great Finos have the tangy aroma of the ‘flor’ with its distinct almond character and aromas similar to mushroom and sometimes cheese rind. The Finos aged in the bodegas of the coastal town of Sanlúcar de Barrameda take on even more of the aromas of the ocean and are given the distinct name of ‘Manzanilla’.

Finos that eventually lose their ‘flor’ will be topped up, fortified to a higher level of alcohol (around 18 percent), and allowed to age into something called amontillado. Amontillado’s contain echoes of the character of the Fino from which they grew, but pecans, honey, caramel, toffee, nuts, dried fruits, and many other aromas and flavours begin to take over.

The other great category of Sherry is Oloroso. These are usually made sweet, although a handful of them are left dry. The term Oloroso can be loosely translated into something powerfully aromatic, and the long barrel ageing required for great Oloroso certainly gives it aromas, which might include toffee, walnuts, prunes, cherries, orange rind, spices, chocolate, and myriad other delectable, dessert-like characteristics.

Sherry is also defined by its ‘solera’ process of ageing. Solera is a system of graduated blending whereby a portion of Sherry is drawn from an old barrel, which is subsequently filled from a barrel of younger Sherry. Barrels of younger and younger Sherries cascade downward so that old and new Sherries are gently and systematically blended together.

The Do’s of Andalucía are:

DO Condado de Huelva – Read more….

DO Jerez-Manzanilla – Read more…

DO Málaga – Read more…

DO Montilla-Moriles – Read more…

DO Sierras de Málaga – Read more…

DO Ycoden Daute Isora – Read more…

Browse a range of sherry and wines from the Andalucía wine region for sale online at the Hic! Wine Shop.

Wine By Region | Spain – Duero River Valley

Duero River Valley

The Duero River Valley wine region is located in North Central Spain and encompasses the wine production area of Castilla y León based around the River Duero. This is the old seat of Spanish nobility when the Moors still controlled the southern portion of the country, and it extends as far northwest as the Bierzo (DO) and the beginning of the Green Spain wine region.

The Duero River travels 460 miles from high in the Sistema Ibérico and forms part of the border between Spain and Portugal. It empties into the Atlantic ocean at Oporto, a town in Portugal that gives its name to a famous Portuguese fortified wine…. Port!

The table wines grown along the banks of the Duero River can be nearly as intense as Port, but are far more practical as drinking red wines. Roasted spring lamb on a BBQ of old-vine cuttings  is fantastic here, and the cold Atlantic seems far away in both climate and cuisine. Though many of the vineyards have only a gentle, round contour, the viticulture here is at high altitude: days are warm and can get hot, but nights are cold thus slowing down the ripening period. Consequently, the wines become rich and ripe, the less expensive ones destined for immediate, delicious drinking, whilst the top wines (Vega Sicilia, Pingus, Pesquera and many others) can last for decades.

The region’s success has seen vineyards expand, and now names such as Sardón del Duero, Arribes, Arlanza, Cigales and other satellite regions are garnering well-deserved attention. In the Cigales DO Rosé wine production has been the mainstay, however, the Tempranillo grape is having a greater impact on their reds now it would seem.

The Tempranillo grape performs extremely well in the DO wine region of Toro too, making powerful, even massive wines. On the other side of the Duero River, the Rueda DO has claimed its own international spotlight with the success of the white Verdejo grape. Here it is likened to (and occasionally blended with) Sauvignon Blanc, however it posses its own unique citrus aromas and pear texture and flavours.

The DO’s of the Duero River Valley wine region are:

DO Arlanza – Read more…

DO Arribes – Read more…

DO Cigales – Read more…

DO Ribera del Duero – Read more…

DO Rueda – Read more…

DO Tierra de León – Read more…

DO Tierra del Vino de Zamora – Read more…

DO Toro – Read more…

To buy wines online from the Duero River Valley wine region of Spain visit the Hic! Wine Shop.

Wine By Region | Green Spain

Green Spain Wine GuideThis region of Spain, exposed to the northern Atlantic, can be cold, wet, and green, hence its name, España Verde or ‘Green Spain’. The wine region stretches from Galicia on Spain’s northwest coast to a portion of northern Spain that includes the Txakoli DOs of the Basque Country. The regions of Ribeiro (DO), Ribeira Sacra (DO), and Valdeorras (DO) enjoy pockets of protection from the cool, sometimes cold, and often wet coastal influences.

Green Spain’s cool and misty climate dictates that wine producers focus on earlier-ripening grapes, especially white varieties. It is the aromatic grape varieties that prosper, with Albariño one of the most successful in international markets. Grown along the coast, or along the rivers that give Rias Baixas (‘lower fjords’) its name, Albariño is the dominant white grape variety producing styles that can vary from crisp and tangy to round and peachy.

As you move inland there are other white grape varieties that fill the vineyards; the rich and complex Godello grape rules in Valdeorras (the “valley of gold”, reflecting Rome’s interest in the place 2000 years ago). Godello, Treixadura and other varieties are grown in the regions of Monterrei and the picturesque DOs of Ribeiro and Ribeira Sacra.

Away from the coast temperatures rise and so red grape varieties are planted; the Mencia grape is arguably northwest Spain’s best red variety producing lip-smacking wines packed with raspberry tones and floral aromas.

Green Spain’s vineyards extend all the way to Basque Country, often backing into the Pyrenees or the Sierra Cantábrica, sheltering more famous wine regions such as Rioja.

The DO’s of Green Spain are:

DO Arabako Txakolina

DO Bierzo – Read more…

DO Bizkaiko Txakolina – Read more…

DO Getariako Txakolina – Read more…

DO Monterrei – Read more…

DO Rias Baixas – Read more…

DO Ribeira Sacra – Read more…

DO Ribeiro – Read more…

DO Valdeorras – Read more…

Shop for wines from Green Spain online at the Hic! Wine Shop.

Wine By Region | Spain – Ebro River Valley

The Ebro River Valley

Snaking between the Sierra de Cantábria mountains and the Sierra Demanda, the River Ebro and its tributaries have helped carve out vineyards that have been celebrated for at least two centuries.

Rioja DOC/DOCa is a wine region that has traditionally carried Spain’s reputation for high quality wine production and is made up of three sub-regions: Rioja Alavesa; Rioja Alta; and Rioja Baja. They each have distinct differences but any notion of a hierarchy between them is now somewhat misguided. As is the fashion with grapes too, for whilst the black Tempranillo is still king, Garnacha, Mazuelo (Carineña), Graciano and increasing numbers of other indigenous grapes are generating new ideas and styles in the region.

Rioja produces a collection of red, white and rosé wines, but it is the reds that account for the greater part of its fame. Ageing classifications have, until recently, been the primary means for separating one wine from another.

Rioja Joven (‘young’) wines are destined for early drinking and they often see little or no oak and are only aged for one to two years before release.

Rioja labelled as Crianza are aged for two years (one year in oak and one year in bottle) and are best suited for early or mid-term enjoyment.

Rioja Reserva wines are aged for three years, often one year in oak and two years in bottle; however there are producers who go above and beyond this requirement with their Reserva wines. Rioja Reserva wines can be age-worthy or offer serious immediate consumption.

Rioja Gran Reserva wines have been regarded as the region’s pinnacle; they are at least five years old (two years in oak barrel and three years in bottle) and are generally ready to drink. But they can age for years too; their long barrel ageing often renders them gentle and complex, rather than big and rich.

Whilst Rioja has often been seen as the traditional area of quality wine production nearby neighbour Navarra has generally been known for quantity. Navarra is a region historically renowned for its rosé wines made from the Garnacha grape, although it is now gaining popularity for quality driven red wines made from more fashionable international grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot.

Farther south, Calatayud (DO), Campo de Borja (DO), and Cariñena (DO) provide a range of great value wine styles. To the east, vineyards are nestled along the base of the foothills of the Pyrenées, where the cool-climate region of Somontano (DO) can be found.

To buy a selection of carefully chosen wines from the Ebro River Valley wine region of Spain please visit our online wine shop and browse our great range of Rioja for sale online: Hic! Wine Shop

Wine By Region | Spain – The Islands of Spain

The Islands of Spain

Away from the Spanish mainland, Spain also has two wine producing groups of islands, the Balearic Islands and The Canaries. The Balearic Islands is a single province region consisting of the islands of Majorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera as well as other small islands. The Region is located in the Mediterranean Sea, to the east of the Iberian Peninsula. The capital city is Palma de Mallorca. The area’s winemaking tradition is protected by two Designations of Origin: Binissalem-Mallorca and Pla i Llevant. Quality wines are also produced in small wineries on the islands of Ibiza, Formentera and Menorca.

The Canary Islands is located off the north coast of Africa, bathed by the Atlantic Ocean. This Autonomous Community includes seven main islands: Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera and El Hierro. The islands remain phylloxera–free, and so grapes that may exist nowhere else still survive here and amongst which include: Listán Negro, Negramoll, Tintilla (red grapes) and Malvasía, Listán Blanco and Albillo (whites) among others.

Spain’s highest mountain is on Tenerife, the largest of the Canary Islands, and most of the island’s vineyards are grown on these fertile, volcanic soils. There are a number of DOs on these islands, and most are very interesting and certainly worth seeking out.

Wine By Region | Spain – The Mediterranean Coast

The Mediterranean Coast Wine Region of SpainSpain’s Mediterranean Coast wine region spans the eastern coast of Spain from its northern border with France to the border with Andalucía in the south. Within this vast expanse a wide variety of wines are produced, from crisp, fragrant sparkling Cava wines and dry whites to dense and earthy wines made from Garnacha, Cariñena, Monastrell, and more.

Here the warmth of the coast can be mitigated by high altitudes, whether in Cataluña or in Valencia. Throughout most of this region world-class wines are being produced in areas such as Priorate and Monsanto as well as in established areas such as Penedés.

In Cataluña, which occupies a triangle-shaped area south of the border with France in Spain’s northeast, elevation as well as proximity and exposure to the sea are crucial to the styles of wine produced. The vineyards of the area may be fairly moderate and coastal, as in Alella DO, or remote and mountainous, as in Priorat DOC/DOCa

South of Cataluña along a long stretch of Spain’s east coast, the land heats up, and as summer temperatures rise, the opportunity to make light wines is baked away. Instead, from northwest of the city of Valencia, south to the Cap de la Nau pointing past Ibiza towards Sicily and all the way to Murcia, the area’s vineyards are wholly dependent upon water. Where water is available for viticulture, many good wines are made, and hardy vines, especially old vines with deep roots that find enough moisture in the soil, survive where water is scarce.

The DO’s of the region are:

Alella DO: Alella’s proximity to Barcelona has added to its success, at least in Spain, but it also now puts the region at risk as the land under vine is worth far more to housing, hotel, and, resort developers than to wineries. Here the Pansá Blanca grape (also known as Xarel-lo and sometimes Pasá Blanca) performs well in the limestone, granite, and sandstone soils of the coastal and hillside vineyards.

Alicante DO: Alicante’s large, present–day 35,000 acres of vineyards pale in comparison to the 230,000+ acres that were bearing fruit before phylloxera destroyed them. Back before phylloxera struck the most proficient grape planted was Moscatel de Alejandría (Muscat of Alexandria, or as it was likely known before, Moscatel of Alicante). The grape and the region have since recovered but it is no longer the powerhouse producing region it was. One of the DO’s famed dessert wines, Fondillón, is now more likely to be made from Monastrell than from Moscatel.

Bullas DO: This is a large region just south of Jumilla where the vineyards in hills and valleys can run from 2,000 to 2,800 feet. Monastrell, Garnacha, and Tempranillo are produced here alongside the famous French grape varieties. The highest areas are considered to give the best quality.

Cataluña DO:  The Cataluña DO was established in 1999 to allow the greatest flexibility to winemakers hopeful of blending commercial wines from throughout this corner of Spain. While most wineries seem to seek the more delineated names of Empordà, Montsant, and the others within the larger Cataluña area, names such as Clos d’Agon are helping to bring greater recognition to DO Cataluña (or Catalunya, in Catalan).

Conca de Barberà DO: The concave (conca) bowl of this limestone–rich valley has produced some outstanding wines which historically have been mostly white wines; the Chardonnay grape thrives here. But Torres, among others, with its Grans Muralles vineyard bottling, has offered proof that this can be an exciting place for reds made with both international and autochthonous varieties. The DO is protected from the sea by the mountains and fed by the Francolí and Anguera rivers.

Costers del Segre DO: This is a top-performing DO that can be found in the province of Lérida. The vineyards are traditionally devoted to Cava production, but Raimat has long been focused upon making top–flight red and white wines from both French and indigenous varieties with international success.

Empordà DO: The Empordà DO can be found lying at the foot of the narrowest section of the Pyrenees and is the closet Spanish wine region to France. Most of the production here is rosado style wines, but the red wines from here are very good too.

Jumilla DO: The high, hilly vineyards of Jumilla still have ungrafted vines planted. Almost all the wine produced in this DO is red and it is the Monastrell grape that seems to thrive here.

Montsant DO: The Montsant DO is potentially a very exciting region that is forging a growing reputation for the quality of wines produced here. It’s vineyards surround the edges of Priorat, and shares grapes (Garnacha & Cariñena) and styles also with its more illustrious neighbour. The only great differences between the two are that the vineyards are usually not as old and the elevations and terrains are not as wild in Montsant as they are in Priorat.

Penedés DO: While Cava can be made in many of the DOs throughout Spain, almost 90 percent is made in the Penedés DO. With good money available to vineyard owners who want to sell early–picked grapes to Cava producers, there is little reason to grow grapes for high–quality table wine. There are excellent red and white wines made in the region, but it is the sparkling Cava wines which rule here.

Pla de Bages DO: Bages is a derivative of Bacchus, the name of the Roman God of Wine, and although winemaking is an old tradition in Bages this is still just an up-and-coming wine region with many newly planted vineyards and a number of small modern bodegas. International varieties, as well as Tempranillo, Garnacha, and Macabeo, are performing well here, and many people enthuse over the white Picapoll grape, which is perfectly pleasant and crisp.

Tarragona DO: Before 2004, the Tarragona DO contained Montsant, but the best vineyards, especially those around Falset, were divided off and combined with elevated areas north of Priorat to make the Montsant DO. The greater part of the vineyards of the Tarragona DO are given to Cava production, although there are some very good white and red wines to be hunted out.

Terra Alta DO: This region lies in the highlands well away from the coast and produces some very good everyday drinking red and white wines. The traditional grapes of Garnacha, Cariñena. Temparnillo, Garnacha Blanca, Macabeo, and Parellada dominate the vineyard plantings.

Utiel-Requena DO: This is a large and important DO producing region of Spain that focuses on red wine production in the extreme west of the province of Valencia. Bobal is the grape variety that appears to be leading the way.

Valencia DO: Valencia is historically famed for its wines, Spain’s third largest city sold wines from everywhere, not only from its native vines. There are some very good red wines produced from the Monastrell grape, but it is the Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah grapes which are really catching the eye here.

Yecla DO: Yecla is situated bewteen Alicante and Jumilla and share’s many similar traits aspect wise to those in Jumilla. Monastrell is the red grape which performs well here as too the dessert style wines.

Priorat DOC/DOCa: Priorat is Spain’s second DOCa along with Rioja and is one of the country’s oldest appellations. It is regarded as one of Spain’s wine producing super-stars with some of the country’s most expensive wines being made in the region. The area has a dry climate and poor soil in which the vines roots spread everywhere in search of water. The new style of red wines made here are stunningly rich and powerful.

Wine By Region | Spain – The Meseta

The Meseta Wine Region of SpainThe Meseta (also known as the Central Plateau) wine region of Spain is an enormous wine producing region that produces nearly half of all the wine in Spain. Almost two-thirds of all Spain’s vineyards are planted upon this vast central plateau which encapsulates Madrid to the north, Cáceres to the west and Albacete to the east. It is home to the world’s most widely planted white grape variety, ‘Airén’, a grape that produces rather unspectacular table wine but does excel when distilled for the production of Brandy de Jerez.

For a long time it was considered that no wine of any real quality could be made on the ‘tabletop’ that represents the centre of the elevated plateau in Spain; however, huge European Union investment has attracted a number of foreign buyers into the region who recognise the potential to be had here, especially by planting vineyards in amongst the significant mountain spots dotted throughout the region.

A broad range of grape varieties including Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah have been introduced into the region taking advantage of the strong differences between day-time and night-time temperatures which grapes appear to thrive upon and now resulting in the production of very good high-quality wines.

The work of Carlos Falcó (Marqués de Griñón, owner of Dominio de Valdepusa and other estates) in the region led to the creation of the highest tier of Spanish wine designations called Vino de Pago which is a single vineyard area designation. His Dominio de Valdepusa vineyard became the first to receive a Vino de Pago DO and there are now a total of eight DO Pago’s in the region.

The Denominación de Origen regions in the Meseta wine region are:

Almansa DO is a large wine producing region but home to only a few wine producers. The region produces mostly Monastrell and shows great potential not only with value but with their high quality oak-aged wines.

La Mancha DO is a large region that relies heavily on its plantings of the local Airén grape for brandy production. There are other grape varieties in production including Macabeo, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay all of which prove a popular partner to the local Manchego cheese.

Manchuela DO has several wineries championing the indigenous Bobal grape for both red and rosado style wines.

Méntrida DO is separated from the beautiful city of Toledo by the Tajo River and is a vast, flat and sandy region planted primarily with the Garnacha grape, although other vines such as Tempranillo, Albillo, and Cabernet Sauvignon are also planted. Madrid is just to the northeast of this DO and provides a welcome local market for the reds and rosados.

Mondéjar DO is a small region with some vineyards planted at elevations approaching 3000 feet offering great potential in the future.

Ribera del Guadiana DO is a sprawling region that touches the border to Portugal and has a myriad of grape varieties planted that are a mixture of Spanish, Portuguese and French. Winemaking has flourished here since Roman times, and the city of Mérida includes an amphitheatre, an aqueduct, bridges, a circus, and a hippodrome from those long-gone imperialists.

Ribera del Júcar DO is located to the eastern side of the La Mancha DO. The extreme summer temperatures are mitigated by elevation (vineyards are planted at roughly 1800 feet) and the proximity of the river Júcar. The most popular varieties grown include Cencibel and Bobal.

Uclés DO is a small region that is prone to some of the most extreme temperatures in Spain. Even though large producers dominate, the region shows potential based on its higher elevation vineyards.

Valdepeñas DO is a wine region of nearly 70,000 acres planted to Garnacha, Cencibel, Airén, and Macabeo grapes. The wines produced here have a centuries–long legacy of international popularity.

Vinos de Madrid DO is a region rapidly diminishing because of the growth of the city, however, towards the south there is a focus on two local white grapes: Malvar and Albillo. The area of Vinos de Madrid that’s farthest from the city has many ancient Garnacha vineyards.

The Vino de Pago DO’s include: Pago Calzadilla, Pago Campo de la Guardia, Pago Casa del Blanco, Pago Dehesa del Carrizal, Pago Dominio de Valdepusa, Pago Finca Élez, Pago Florentino and Pago Guijoso.

Discover more about the Meseta Wine region of Spain online.

Wine By Region | The USA – California

Discover Californian Wines Online

America’s golden state of California has winemaking traditions which date back to the late 1700’s, when Spanish missionaries introduced winemaking to California from Mexico. With almost 250 years of wine-making skills and experience together with the perfect year-round climate to grow grapes, California is arguably one of the best places on earth to make outstanding wine.

Discover California and Californian Wines Official Website

California’s 800 miles of rugged coastline expose nearby vineyards to natural ‘air conditioning’ in the form of fog and sea-breezes which provide ideal conditions for the production of exceptional Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines. Further inland the warmer interior valleys receive the same cooling effect due to the rivers, lakes and deltas that run through them. Vines planted along the hillsides obtain the perfect mix of cooling air and bright sunshine allowing grape varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot to thrive.

Every bottle of Californian wine lists the geographical origin, or appellation, where the grapes were grown. Appellations in the state are defined either by political boundaries, such as the name of a county, or by federally recognised growing regions, called American Viticultural Areas (AVAs). For a wine to carry an AVA name on its label, at least 85% of the grapes must be grown in that AVA.

There are numerous wine regions spread throughout California and these are to be found in the main wine producing areas of: The North Coast, The Central Coast, The Sierra Foothills, The Inland Valleys, Southern California and Far North California. The wine regions of California are divided into AVA’s, of which there are presently over 100.

The North Coast is one of California’s coolest regions and is home to more than half of the states wineries and to some of the world’s most celebrated producers. The regions found on the North Coast include: Napa Valley, Lake County, Mendocino County, Sonoma County and Los Carneros.

Discover more about the wines of California’s North Coast wine region.

San Francisco’s ‘Golden Gate Bridge’ paves the way south into the state’s ‘Central Coast’ where you will find wine from regions including: Livermore Valley, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains, Monterey County, Paso Robles and Santa Barbara County.

Discover more about the wine styles of California’s Central Coast wine region

The Sierra Foothills was the epicentre for California’s Gold Rush and attracted thousand’s of immigrants who sought fortune in the mines and left their vines in the ground. Famous landmark attractions to the area include Lake Tahoe and the Yosemite National Park as well as numerous Ghost Towns that serve as a reminder of the old wild west. The Sierra Foothills is a quality wine producing area and home to some very good wine made only in very small quantities.

Discover more about the wine producers and their wines in the Sierra Foothills.

The Inland Valleys of California are home to some of the most fertile farmlands in the entire world and wine producers across regions such as Lodi, Sacramento and San Joaquin Valley are producing excellent quality wines from a range of grape varieties.

Discover more about the wine regions of California’s Inland Valleys.

The Southern California wine region is nestled in and around the valleys and foothills of famous locations such as Malibu, Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego, where one vineyard is planted at 1,300 metre’s above sea-level, the highest vineyard elevation in California.

Discover more about wines produced in Southern and the Far North of California

Wine By Region | The USA – Pacific Northwest

Washington State WinesThe Pacific Northwest is the largest wine region in North America and encompasses a collection of varied wine making areas and more than 1,000 wineries. The region is relatively unknown to wine drinkers outside of the USA, however, wine production is on the increase and it is now fast becoming recognised as a source of truly world-class wines desirable across the globe.

The region broadly consists of America’s three northwestern states: Washington, Oregon and Idaho. The Pacific Ocean defines the western border of the region, from northern California in the south to the Canadian border in the north.

The Yakima Valley which runs through Washington is roughly the same latitude as northern Bordeaux and southern Burgundy and so it is no surprise to note that the state has become well known for its powerful Bordeaux and Rhône style wines.

The primary grape varieties grown in Washington State include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah for red wine production and Chardonnay and Riesling for white wine production.

The ‘American Viticultural Areas’ (AVAs) of Washington include: Ancient Lakes, Columbia Gorge, Columbia Valley, Horse Heaven Hills, Lake Chelan, Naches Heights, Puget Sound, Rattlesnake Hills, Red Mountain, Snipes Mountain, Wahluke Slope, Walla Walla Valley and Yakima Valley.

For more in depth reading on the wines of Washington State, the wineries and wine regions visit the official Washington State Wine Website.

Oregon is the coolest state in the Pacific Northwest with a wet, maritime climate and has long been noted for the production of outstanding Pinot Noir red wines as well as exceptional Pinot Gris and Chardonnay white wines.

The approved AVAs for Oregon state include: Applegate Valley, Chehalem Mountains, Columbia Gorge, Columbia Valley, Dundee Hills, Elton Oregon, Eola-Amity Hills, McMinnville, Red Hill Douglas County, Ribbon Ridge, The Rocks District, Rogue Valley, Snake River, Southern Oregon, Umpqua Valley, Walla Walla Valley, Willamette Valley and Yamhill-Carlton.

For further information on the wine regions of Oregon, the wineries and wine styles visit the official Oregon Wine Board Website.

To buy wine online from the Pacific Northwest wine region of America take a look at the range of wines from Oregon and Washington State for sale at the Hic! wine shop > Buy Wine from the Pacific Northwest of America Online

Argentina | A Guide to the Wines of Argentina

Argentina’s dynamic wine industry has boomed over the past decade thanks to rapid modernisation and a great deal of investment, lured by the potential that exists in the country’s high altitude vineyards. The country is divided into three primary wine regions: The North; Cuyo (central) and Patagonia in the south each with their own distinct wine districts.

The wine producing area of Mendoza, in the far west along the foothills of the Andes, is by far the most significant wine – growing province, with over 150,000 hectares of vineyard giving huge variation in grape varieties and style. Other key wine producing provinces in Argentina are: Jujuy; Salta; Catarmaca; Tucuman; La Rioja; San Juan; La Pampa; Neuquen and Rio Negro.

Malbec, native to South West France, is Argentina’s flagship grape variety and seems to have found its true home in upper Mendoza, particularly in Luján de Cuyo (designated Argentina’s first controlled appellation in 1993). The second most planted red variety is Bonarda, which is enjoying considerably more success here than its native Italy. Other popular red grape varieties planted in Argentina are amongst others: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petite Sirah and Pinot Noir.

Torrontés is an increasingly popular white grape choice alongside more traditional varieties of Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Viognier and Sémillon.