When discussing different countries in Europe well-known for their superior vineyards and wine production, France and Italy are often high on the list. While these are arguably the centers of wine in Europe, there are countless regions within both – and outside of them – that are renowned for their own, individual reasons. Countries such as Portugal, for example, are often overlooked in terms of wine production, yet boast some excellent variations that are well worth a try!
So, where exactly are some of the best – yet underrated – wine regions in Europe, and how many of them stray from the beaten track?
Within this region alone, there are more than 250 wine producers boasting vineyards covering approximately 22,000 hectares of land. Warm climes and an abundance of open land make it a temperate region for the production of wines that are fully illustrative of the region they hail from. Underground Cellar recommend that wine aficionados take a trip to the Festa da Vinha e do Vinho in November, where they’ll be sure to enjoy the various historical taverns and restaurants housing large clay wine-pots – and may even glimpse traditional Roman wine-making techniques!
Home of the country’s most famous wine route (amongst Hungarians, anyway), The Valley of the Beautiful Lady, Hungary is not often lauded for its wine production outside of the country itself. A charming region that contains around 200 wine cellars full-to-the-brim with decadent vintages and award-winning wines, this is the ideal trip for wine-lovers. One of the best, most notable wines of the region is the Egri Bikavér, a deep red wine replete with rich aromas and heady notes of fruit.
Another relatively unknown region for wine outside of the country, the eastern coast of Istria boasts a wine-making legend that harks back to the ancient Greeks. The high-quality soil, temperate climate, and position in relation to the sea and sloping towards the sun make this an ideal region to cultivate deep, earthy wines that please the palate. The two soil types – red soil and white soil – each contribute differently to the grapes grown, with red soil perfect for full-bodied reds, and white soil developing mellow, citrusy whites.
It goes without saying that traditional regions – such as Bordeaux and the Rhone Valley in France, Tuscany and Piedmont in Italy, and Catalonia in Spain – are each highly-rated for their wine production, but sometimes, those that are a bit out of the norm can offer flavors and techniques that are well worth a try!