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France

Forget the Eiffel tower, the fashion industry, bread sticks that are too long for your shopping bag, and a really long bicycle race – by far the best thing ever to come out of France is wine. With some of the oldest vines in the world and the most famed growing regions, France is still the undisputed King of the Vin.

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Austria

Austrian wines are true wine-lover wines: not obvious, but consistently interesting and well-made. They’re so good in fact and made in such small quantities, that the Austrians keep most of them for themselves. Grüner Veltliner is king of grapes in Austria, especially in the North East, though Riesling is also popular and there are others to try. The pretty patchwork of soils allow for several wine styles across the country and so wines from Austria tend to be particularly ‘terroir-driven’, where you can taste or feel that soil texture in the wine, from the nervy minerality of slate to the chalkiness of the limestone.

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Chile

For a country that is over 4000km long, and only 350km wide, Chile is a country that offers huge diversity in landscape – from the hot deserts of the Atacama in the north to the cooler climes of Tierra del Fuego in the south, life and winemaking here is as varied and interesting as it is consistent in quality. The Spanish conquistadores brought vitis vinifera vines over here first in the 16th century, winemaking culture has developed into something known throughout the world for excellent value and, increasingly, for innovation. Signature grape varieties include Carmenere, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc, whilst indigenous varieties such as pais are becoming ever more coveted.

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New Zealand

The dramatic antipodean island is famous for its rugged coastline and mountainous volcanic interior, but it’s the winemaking scene that’s seen the biggest explosion in recent times. Regions like Marlborough, Central Otago, Hawkes Bay, and Martinborough are producing award-winning Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay that would make even the French proud.

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Portugal

Portuguese wines are strangely underrated in the wine world – much like the European Championship winning football team they fielded in 2016. The Douro Valley in the country’s north is the spiritual home of port wine and the rest of the country punches well above it’s weight in in producing reds and whites that are just as stunning as the countryside.

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Spain

Blessed with perfect weather, pristine beaches, fantastic cuisine, and a healthy appetite for a good party, it’s no surprise that Spain is the third largest producer of wine in the world. Traditionally famed for its Tempranillo the country now brims with younger varietals boasting unlimited potential, proving that the Spanish wine scene is as bright as the sun over Salamanca.

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Italy

Possibly more famed for its food and easy-going lifestyle than wine alone, it’s hard to argue that nothing goes together with said food and lifestyle better than a good Italian vino. With some of the best value wines in Europe dotted from Lombardy in the north, through Tuscany, down the “boot” and off the toe onto Sicily, you truly are spoiled for choice.