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5 Unique Countries for Wine
When speaking of wine and travelling we immediately think of France with its unique wine culture and refined taste. Another land which usually comes to mind is Italy, its grape yards absorbing the sun to be turned into the delicious wine later. But if you look deeper into the topic there are many more places in Europe which, along with their beauty and the rich culture of their inhabitants, will make your visit and your experience there unforgettable.
Montenegro is definitely a pearl of the Balkans and the fact that it is not as popular as other European touristic destinations makes it even more attractive. Relaxing in the embrace of the warm Adriatic Sea, this Balkan jewel will steal your heart the moment you see its old streets and will make you want to come again the moment you leave it. What will make your experience even more fascinating is the fact that this little medieval-looking paradise has its own wineries. Located around the capital of Podgorica, their products are a real must try if you are traveling the Balkans.
First of all the country has its own specific and ancient kind of grapes named Krstač. Krstač has been used for dry white wines for centuries, and the wine made from it is usually appreciated for its light delicate taste and its unique aroma. If you want to feel the true taste and spirit of the country then try it with the local seafood dishes.
Another grape is Vranac. It is rather widespread through the Balkans, also growing in Serbia and Macedonia, but any native Montenegrin will tell you that Vranac is the most important grape in the country. The Vranac dry wine is considered a trademark of Montenegro and everyone who is interested in the culture of the region wouldn’t miss the chance to try it. Vranac wine has a very specific fruity taste which some compare to wildflowers, while the others go as far as saying it reminds them of cinnamon and honey. It goes well with meat, but the locals will ensure you that it goes well with everything.
The country of Georgia, not the most visited place in Europe, is considered an ancient wine-making region and its unique wine culture is from centuries of experience and inspiration. The country’s wine-producing regions are various and prosperous and the unique climate with its clear air no doubt adds to the amazing taste of its wines. Historians say that the country has about 7,000 years of the wine-making history, and the wine-making method using kvevri (large clay pots) has its own proud place in UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists. But though the history of wine in this country is lengthy, the locals do not bury too deep into it and just make the drink and enjoy it as their parents, grandparents, and their great-grandparents did. Georgia is a country of traditions and it can be felt everywhere, while the wine is one of its best examples.
The main wine-producing region is Kakheti, but wine is loved in every region of the country and the drink is often being made in little farms, monasteries, and in many village households. It is as regular a part of a Georgian life as the air they breathe. Many use the traditional methods of wine-making, while factories make it in a more modern ways.
It is impossible to describe all the Georgian wines, for the variety is so great that even trying them all would take you quite a long time. But as you start to drink them it will be hard to stop. The semi-sweet wines are the most popular in the country and anyone who has ever visited it will suggest you to try them. The others are just as good and to be honest it would be hard to say which one of them deserves more attention.
People who visit Moldova often say that wine flows like a river there, and while we can find many other countries that would fit that saying, Moldova definitely deserves the attention of wine lovers. Moldova’s Mileștii Mici wine cellars are one of the country’s most famous touristic destinations as they are said to have the biggest collection of wine in the world. One of the other cellars, and one of the most well-known, is the Cricova cellars. Both can be found close to the country’s capital, Chişinău, and definitely require a visit if you travel Eastern Europe. It deserves to be added that the hospitable Moldavians are very proud of their wine and consider it a treasure of the country, and they never turn down the opportunity to offer you to taste it.
As for the wine itself you should consider the three most famous types of grapes, native to the country and the region, and most popular: Fetească Alba (literally translates as ‘White Maiden’), Fetească Regală (‘Royal Maiden’), and Fetească Neagră (‘Black Maiden’). The names, as it’s not hard to guess, refer to the color of the grapes. Fetească Alba is usually a producer of a dry white wine, with a pleasant fruit taste and a distinct aroma. Fetească Regală is also typically a very enjoyable white wine, with a light flower taste, and a fruity aroma. Finally Fetească Neagră wine is known for its notable berry flavor. The wines can be both homemade and produced at factories; though no matter where it comes from you will enjoy its unique taste, and the open-hearted nature of the locals, who will often gladly join you in enjoying your experience.
Many tourists visit Hungary for its beautiful architecture, its hot baths and its delicious cuisine, though not many hear about its unique wine before they actually go there. Hungary is very proud of their wines and you can often see the locals sipping a glass of it in the little restaurants of old Budapest. Tokaji wine is one of the country’s main exports, so if you will really like it while being there you can most likely find it in a wine store and enjoy it at home.
Tokaji wine is definitely a pearl of wines. Its taste is rather specific and you will never confuse it with anything else. For centuries it has been stealing the hearts of travelers and wine-lovers all around the world. Tokaji, usually sweet, comes in many kinds and can be made from different types of Hungarian grapes, though most often is made from the Furmint grapes. Tokaji Aszú is the world’s most famous sweet Tokaji wine and a definite must try, for it is usually praised for its unique sweet fruity taste. The very sweet Tokaji Eszencia (whether or not it is a wine is debatable due to its low alcohol content) is the rarest and the most unique one of them. There are also a variety of dry wines, so even in case you do not like the sweet ones, you will most likely find something to fit your taste.
This little place, so full of history, is amazing and the unique drinking experience you will get in this country no doubt adds to its spirit. The vineyards which cover this little, yet very warm, country are heated in the sun and tend to grow faster than the ones which are grown by their Mediterranean neighbors. There are two native kinds of grapes here: Gellewza and Girgentina.
Gellewza grapes make red wines, though this unique type of grapes is most often used to make rose sparkling wines, tasting of ripe fruits with a notable strawberry in every little sip of it. It is good for the long romantic evenings in Malta, especially when you look at the beautiful sunset over the sea.
Girgentina is a white grape. The wine made from these is known for its fruity, warm taste and its fresh lightness. It is so easily drinkable that you can never understand how the time passed while you enjoy it. Don’t miss the chance to try it if you go for dinner in a restaurant paired with the local seafood. It is often blended with Chardonnay, producing a deep and delicious taste, but the crispy pure Girgentina itself deserves a try.
While Maltese wines are a great rarity outside of the country, here they can be found in every restaurant and in every store. It is fair to say that the Maltese drink all of their wine themselves, maybe because it is too precious to share with the world. While being in Malta, never miss the opportunity to enjoy its dishes and enjoy its fascinating wines.