Wine Region & Appellation Guide

We at The International Wine of the Month Club are excited to unveil this new section of our website. It is our hope that these articles will convey some of the fascination that we have for these great wine-making regions, as well the special magic their wines possess that make them so popular within our club and with enophiles worldwide. This section is under continuous expansion, so check back often to read more about the world's greatest wine-producing areas. Learn more about wine and what goes into each bottle by reading our wine glossary index.

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Wine region guide
Wine region guide

Ask almost anyone on earth to name the first country that comes to mind when wine is mentioned, and invariably the answer will be France. In addition, most people think of France as home to the most celebrated and expensive wines on earth. Names such as Châteaux Lafite, Latour, Margaux, Mouton Rothschild, Domaine Romanée Conti, Dom Perignon, and Guigal are known the world over for their quality, style, and luxury. These wines hail from such recognizable and influential regions as Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, and the Rhône Valley. Despite the aristocratic and prestigious pedigree of France's top wines and producers, France and its magnificent wines are much more than a handful of famous names and places. In fact, France - the world's second leading producer of wine - remains a treasure trove of fine wines at affordable prices from many appellations, both renowned and obscure, if only one knows where to look.

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When discussing Italy, it may be tempting to debate whether food or wine is more important to an Italian. The answer, of course, is "yes." In Italy the two are inseparable. And since Italian food and Italian wine hold exalted status around the globe, isn't the question moot? Shouldn't we simply enjoy them together as we are meant to do? And since Italian vintners traditionally create wines that are intended to be consumed with food, we can revel in the twofold pleasure of selecting great bottles of wine and marrying them to fabulous, succulent meals. How about an earthy, powerful Barolo or Barbaresco from the Piedmont paired with a juicy pot roast, flavorful risotto, or satisfying polenta, for example? Or a flavorful fruity, floralTocai from Friuli with the region's famous prosciutto accompanied by fresh melon and figs? What about a Brunello di Montalcino, a Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, or a Chianti Classico from Tuscany served with a bistecca al firoentina? See, isn't this fun!

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Spain has been called "the land that time forgot." Sadly when it came to wine, this adage rang true throughout much of the 20th century. Spain has been the world's third largest producer of wine for decades (after Italy and France) and it has more acreage under vine than any other wine producing nation. Yet, with the exception of Rioja and the lovely, affordable Cava of Penedes, Spanish wines were little known in the United States until quite recently.

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