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If you could only drink wine
from one country, which
would you choose?
We posed this question to our regular wine writer Martin Higginson. What was his answer?
What a dilemma! I always say that wine drinkers in the UK
are the luckiest as we can easily get wines from almost every wine growing region in the world. So to have to go for one country to drink their wine from for ever.... that’s hard! I can’t have Rioja and Chianti, or white Burgundy and New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. The problem is there are too many wines to give up while still keeping the range of styles and grape varieties that we’re used to. Should I go for a country that produces a wide
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range of wines, or one that produces the best examples of my favourite grape variety? Then there’s Old World (Europe) versus New World (everywhere else), the steely acidity of cooler climates against the rich fruitiness of warmer regions. What a First World problem I’ve been given!
Some of the most interesting wines, and by that I mean wines made from traditional, local grape varieties, using methods both modern and ancient, come from Italy, but when it’s the only wine I’m ever to going get, do I want ‘interesting’? No, sorry but perhaps I’m
going to be predictable in my choice, as when it comes down to quality wines and a huge variety of styles then it has to be France. Why? Well, it’s a country which experiences a huge range of climates, cool continental in Alsace and Burgundy, maritime cool in the Loire, ocean-influenced warmth in Bordeaux, the heat of the Rhone region, and a mix of conditions in areas such as Languedoc, Provence, Savoie and Jura. Then there’s the grapes that are used, and while the varieties that you can grow is very tightly controlled in many regions, sometimes with regulations that are many hundreds
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