Europe has a rich history, breathtaking landscapes, and diverse cultural traditions. It’s no surprise that when it comes to wine, Europe stands as a beacon of excellence, producing some of the finest varieties that have captivated enthusiasts across the globe. In this article, we will embark on a delightful journey through Europe’s most popular and beloved wines, each with its unique story and flavor profile.
Champagne, Bordeaux, Riesling, Cava, Vermouth, Syrah, Beaujolais, Primitivo, Sherry, Pinot Noir, Barolo, Tempranillo, Sangiovese, Prosecco, and many more are the best wines in Europe for wine lovers.
Visiting the wine fields of Europe is always on the bucket list of wine connoisseurs. With bright sunny days, hillsides, the vineyards of Europe are just unique destinations for wine lovers.
Scroll down the article and learn about the famous European wines you can try on your next Europe trip. I have also mentioned which food you can have and the region where you can find them. Let’s dive into the world of wines and learn about the best wines in Europe.
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Which European Country Makes The Best Wine?
France is the best European country that makes the best wine. Whether you prefer red or white wine, you can get a variety of wines in France. France’s most famous wine varieties are Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Italy is also known for its best wine flavors. Italy and France always stay at the top of the list of wine-producing countries.
What Are The Most Popular Wines In Europe?
Europe is the largest wine producer and contributes about 2/3rd of the world’s total wine production. Europe has a lot of different wines like Bordeaux, Riesling, Cava, Vermouth, Syrah, Beaujolais, Primitivo, Sherry, Pinot Noir, Barolo, Tempranillo, Sangiovese, and many more. But here I will tell you about the best 25 European wines you can buy.
1. Pinot Noir – Burgundy, France
Burgundy, located in eastern France, is celebrated for its exquisite Pinot Noir wines, known for their elegance and finesse; Burgundian Pinot Noir wines exhibit a delicate balance of red fruit flavors, earthy undertones, and refined tannins.
The region’s unique terroir, characterized by limestone-rich soils, contributes to the wine’s complexity and longevity. Pinot Noir from Burgundy has earned a loyal following due to its ability to express the nuances of individual vineyards, making each bottle a true masterpiece.
If you wish to discover the best of its kind, try out Domaine Denis Mortet Gevrey Chambertin Mes Cinq Terroirs 2020, and make sure to pair it with roast duck or Nicolas Rossignol Volnay 2019, which pairs perfectly with vegetarian dishes like mushroom risotto.
2. Barolo – Piedmont, Italy
Barolo is one of the country’s most renowned wine varieties in the Piedmont region of northwestern Italy. Barolo wines are crafted from the Nebbiolo grape and possess a powerful yet refined character. Barolos’ intense aromas of roses, violets, and ripe red fruit captivate the senses.
These full-bodied red wines are often aged for years, allowing their robust tannins to soften and reveal complex truffles, spices, and tobacco flavors. Like Domenico Clerico Barolo 2018, Barolo is a wine that commands attention and rewards those who appreciate its depth and longevity.
3. Tempranillo – Rioja, Spain
Next, let’s take a trip to the scenic Rioja region in northern Spain, the birthplace of Tempranillo, the backbone of the country’s beloved red wines. You’ll be treated to a delightful symphony of flavors when you sip a glass of Rioja Tempranillo, such as Artadi Valdegines 2019. The region’s unique approach to aging makes Rioja Tempranillo even more special. Rioja offers distinct classifications, such as Crianza, Reserva, and Gran Reserva, each representing a different level of maturation. It means you have various options to choose from, catering to other preferences and showcasing the rich winemaking heritage of Spain.
4. Sangiovese – Tuscany, Italy
Venturing into the picturesque landscapes of Tuscany, Italy, we encounter the illustrious Sangiovese grape, the heart, and soul of the region’s beloved wines. Tuscany is renowned for producing exceptional red wines, and Sangiovese takes center stage in many of these remarkable creations.
One of the most famous Tuscan wines made from Sangiovese is Chianti. This iconic wine region embodies the essence of Tuscany, and its Sangiovese-based wines have earned global acclaim. Chianti wines offer a harmonious blend of fruitiness, acidity, and a distinctive character that beautifully complements Italian cuisine, from pasta dishes to succulent roasts.
Beyond Chianti, Sangiovese is also the driving force behind other esteemed Tuscan wines, such as Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. These wines undergo longer aging periods, allowing Sangiovese to express its full potential and develop additional layers of complexity, including dark cherries, tobacco, and leather flavors.
5. Champagne – Ardenne, France
Champagne is considered the proper standard for sparkling wine. France is an ideal destination if you are looking for true champagne. You will find various champagne houses in Reims and Epenay worth exploring.
You will find famous champagnes, including Taittinger and Veuve Clicquot. These champagne regions draw a lot of attention from tourists since it has fallen under the category of world heritage site. However, the hillsides make it great for tourism.
In France, champagne is prepared using a method called Champenoise. In this method, fermentation is done by adding rock sugar and yeast.
6. Bordeaux – Gironde, France
Let’s now talk about the largest wine-grown area of France. The Bordeaux region is popularly known for its more than 50 labels. From regular wines too expensive to vintage, Bordeaux offers a wide variety of wines.
Red wine is the primary production, although you can also find dry white wines, roses, or sweet or sparkling wines. This region offers a vast range and variety of wines to suit customers’ needs worldwide.
Red Bordeaux, such as Bordeaux de Gloria Bordeaux Rouge, has aromas resembling dark fruit but has a soft and silky taste. If you love wine, Bordeaux offers a whole combo of history and culture with delicious food and delicate wine.
7. Riesling – Rhineland, Germany
The Rhine region of Germany is known for Riesling. Over time, it has gained popularity in other wine regions of Europe. Germany is known for having the best grape quality; thus, Riesling is a tremendous grape-based wine option.
In Austria and Alsace, this European wine has been incredibly loved by people. The nature of this wine is automatically acidic, and thus, you can enjoy the various versions from dry to medium to sweet styles of this wine. Chateau Ste. Michelle Columbia Valley Riesling is quite popular and loved by everyone.
When it comes to the aroma of this wine, it resembles a mixture of ripe peaches, apples, pears, nectarines, and citrus, combined with floral, herbal, and earthy notes. Doesn’t it sound aromatic and attractive? You can also sense the smoky aroma of these wines.
8. Cava – Catalonia, Spain
A perfect incomparable Spanish sparkling wine made with a variety of grapes makes cava wines. The grapes used to make this supreme wine belong to the region of Spain, mainly Xarel Lo, Macabeo, and Parellada.
The perfect combo of the floral aromas with red berries made with Trepat, red grapes, or Garnacha results in Rose cava, popularly known as Rosat in Spanish. Moreover, you have also seen some of them infused with Chardonnay.
Although some of the producers believe that the addition of this affects the originality of the cava wine, when it comes to its taste, it has citrusy flavors with slight rancid acidity. After a specific period, it produces an aroma similar to baked apples and has a nutty flavor.
9. Vermouth – Turin, Italy
Vermouth is one of the most classic European drinks. Different botanicals are used to add aromas to this wine. This sweetened wine is into two types: red or white. The white one is dry, and the red wine tastes sweet.
Vermouth falls under the category of ancient wines that are linked with wormwood wine. But when we talk about facts, the first official vermouth was made in Turin. Antonio Benedetto Carpano prepared this wine by using herbs and spices to add aroma to the wine.
In 1786 he started selling sweet red vermouth. At that time, this wine was instantly loved by the locals, and since then, this wine has become famous all over the world. Then, the white version of vermouth was introduced, earlier popular as French-style vermouth. Ransom Sweet Vermouth is quite renowned; you can also try on this.
10. Syrah – Rhone-Alpes, France
Syrah is quite a popular grape variety worldwide and is also planted in most regions. But when it comes to the northern Rhone area, it has some distinctive features and has the best taste. Syrah wine of Rhone Alpes is thus famous because of the outstanding quality and parts of the grapes used to make it.
Syrah’s plantation of grapes is native to France; thus, wine made from Syrah has a distinct style. These wines are generally robust and are dark red. There are wines made with Syrah, including 2021 Estate Grown Syrah. This wine aged exceptionally well and has a fantastic aroma similar to dark fruit with some peppery kick and earthy notes.
11. Beaujolais – Rhone-Alpes, France
Beaujolais is another wine that belongs to the Rhone Alpes of France region. It is quite a light-bodied red wine. When it comes to the nature of this wine, it is highly acidic. The historical traces of this wine belong to the Beaujolais province and are made with Gamay grapes.
The presence of the Gamay grapes results in low tannins; thus, it falls under the category of white wine. The best way to enjoy this wine is to have it slightly chilled. It has mixed aromas of fresh cherry and blackberry fruit. It has spicy, earthy notes. Try your hand on Jean Marc Burgaud Beaujolais Villages Blanc Chardonnay.
12. Port – Vila Real District, Portugal
Another one on the list is Port. This fortified wine belongs to Douro Valley. Port wines are made from various varieties of grapes. Tinta Barroca, Touriga Nacional, Touriga Francesca, and Tinta Cao are the best grape varieties to make the red Port.
On the other hand, Arinto, Gouveio, Viosinho, and Rabigato, are considered best for making white port wine. Once the wine is well fermented, it is fortified with the help of brandy and then let it mature in oak casks. The vintage port wines are famous and known for their highest prestige value.
13. Primitivo – Apulia, Italy
Primitivo is another grape variety located in the Apulia, Italy region. When it comes to the origin of the grapes, it has a fascinating history. The characteristics are different from area to region.
Primitivo is cultivated in the Apulia region and is mainly utilized in the label primitivo di manduria. The wine made of these grapes has a rustic wine appearance and intense dark rich tannins.
14. Sherry – Province Of Cadiz, Spain
Sherry is also a fortified wine belonging to Andalusia’s region. It is available in different styles. When it comes to its taste, it has a variety of sweet to complex combinations. Palomino grapes are mostly used to make this wine, and the sweetness is added from Pedro Ximenez and Muscatel grapes.
Sherry wines are divided into five categories, depending on the quantity of alcohol and the aging process. Manzanilla, Fino, Oloroso, Amontillado, and Palo Cortado are different categories of sherry wines.
15. Ribera Del Duero – Castile And Leon, Spain
Ribera del Duero is the Spanish label of wine and is available in the Castila and Leon provinces. It is a blend of Tempranillo and other permitted varieties. The mixture must include 75% of the former and 25% of the rest.
Its other varieties include local brands, white Albillo, Gamacha, and international varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. These wines are made from aging, and their taste becomes more balanced and complex with time.
16. Tawny Port – Vila Real District, Portugal
One of the best categories of fortified port wine is Tawny Port. This wine is made for aging and is usually oak aged for seven years. However, vintage lovers may extend the aging process to 10 to 20 years. You can also find vintage versions of 40 years old wine. It has a sweet amber taste and has different aromas. Taylor Tawny Port is one of the best port wines.
You may experience a combo of caramel, vanilla, coffee, and nutty aromas. Desserts are the best thing to accompany tawny port wine. Well, anything with fruits, nuts, chocolates, or eggs can go well with this wine, depending on the age of the wine.
17. Chianti – Tuscany, Italy
Chianti wine is a red wine derived from the Tuscany, Italy region. This wine is prepared with 70% of Sangiovese grapes. You can find this wine almost everywhere in this region, and chianti classico is known for its historical heartland. Chianti has different varieties, such as Ruffino Riserva Ducale Chianti Classico DOCG Sangiovese Red Blend Italian Red Wine.
This wine has a ruby-red color and is dry. It is well known for its cherry flavors and pleasant aromas. The herbal nuances and earthy notes make this wine more aromatic. You can enjoy this wine with food; it is considered a food-friendly dish and can be enjoyed with many dishes.
18. Ruby Port – Vila Real District, Portugal
Here is the most common type of fortified port wine. Ruby ports are made from red grapes and are usually kept for aging up to three years. Steel or concrete tanks are widely used for aging. It is considered the best way to introduce complex futures to port wines. Sandeman ruby port is an example of this wine.
You must have guessed it from its name; this wine has a ruby-red appearance, light flavors, and fruity aromas. You can use this wine at room temperature, or with ice, as per your preference and taste. You can use chocolate-based desserts or cherry and blue cheese to accompany this ruby wine.
19. Soave – Province Of Verona, Italy
Another Italian wine on the list is Soave. It belongs to the wine region of its namesake, located in the east part of Verona. This wine is prepared mainly with Garganega grapes. You may also find small quantities of other varieties, including Chardonnay, Trebbiano di Soave, and many more.
This wine is available in three different styles. You can find the dry still Soave, sparkling Spumanti, and sweet Recioto. When it comes to the taste of Soave, it has a light, delicate, crisp taste. However, you can get a fresh fruity note in the other varieties of Soave. You can easily accompany it with seafood, pasta, fish, or any other light appetizer.
20. Chablis – Yonne, France
The other name for the northern burgundy is Chablis. But don’t you confuse it, it is a white wine from the Yonne, France region. To make this wine, 100% Chardonnay is utilized. But this wine does not fall under the category of oak aging, and it hardly uses this method.
Thus, the taste of this wine might vary from style to profile. When it comes to its aroma and flavors, it has a citrusy flower-like fragrance and has flavors resembling dry pear, minerality, and salinity. This wine also has a high acidity nature and thus works well with chicken, creamy sauces, clams, trout, bass, halibut, and cod.
21. Lillet – Pondesac, France
Belonging to the Pondesac region of France, Lillet is another fortified wine on the list. It is prepared by combining various things featuring peels, fruits, and barks. All these are liquified in neutral alcohol and mixed with wine. You can try Lillet Rose wine whenever you visit France.
The mixture is then stored in an oak barrel to continue the aging process for months. There is a huge demand for this wine in the United States; thus, the dry Lillet has been made after its success. This one works well with long drinks and cocktails.
22. Saperavi – Kakheti, Georgia
Saperavi wine belongs to the Kakheti region of Georgia. This wine is made with the saperavi grapes and grown majorly in Georgia and other eastern European areas, but only in small quantities. You can this version of Saperavi Teliani Valley Saperavi Dry Red
These are full-bodied wines and have a dark red color. It is pleasantly acidic and is a versatile variety of wine. It has a beautiful aroma that resembles red berries. You can enjoy it with different dishes, including stews, fish dishes, or grilled meat.
23. Madeira – Madeira, Portugal
Madeira is another fortified wine manufactured in the volcanic region of the Madeira islands. This wine has different varieties, including dry wine. These dry wines are usually served as an appetizer. These dry wines work so well with desserts.
When we talk about its production, Tinta Negra Mole red grape is used to make 85% of Madeira. You can enjoy four different styles, including the sweetest to the driest. You must have heard about its making process. This wine is quite famous for its winemaking process, as wines produced in this region are incredibly durable.
24. Nebbiolo – Piedmont, Italy
One of the most famous and known Italian grapes is Nebbiolo. This variety is one of the most produced, and not only this, these grapes give fantastic results in their native Piedmont. Renato Ratti Langhe Nebbiolo is a wine made of these Italian Grapes.
The wines from this variety of grapes are rich in tannin content, robust, and highly acidic. It is also best for aging. The aroma of wines made from these grapes is quite similar to tar, and roses, mixed with the notes of violets, leather, cherries, licorice, and truffles.
You can use this wine to accompany meat dishes. It also works well with mushroom-based sauces, spicy Asian cuisine, truffles, and aged cheese.
25. Prosecco – Veneto, Italy
Let’s conclude our journey with the effervescent charm of Prosecco from the Veneto region in Italy. Prosecco is a sparkling wine made primarily from the Glera grape, and it has gained immense popularity as a beloved choice for celebratory moments.
Prosecco wines are known for their lively bubbles, crisp acidity, and delicate flavors of green apple, pear, and floral notes. With its refreshing and approachable character, Prosecco has become a go-to option for toasting special occasions and a versatile companion for light appetizers and fruity desserts.
Its widespread popularity in Europe has made Prosecco a symbol of joy and friendliness. The varietals from Veneto, like Rizzardi Prosecco Extra Dry and Bortolin Angelo Desiderio Rive di Guia Valdobbiadene Prosecco Brut 2021, are undoubtedly part of the selection you should try out to feel the essence of this magnificent wine region.
From the delicate Pinot Noir of Burgundy to the powerful Barolos of Piedmont and from the approachable Tempranillos of Rioja to the rich Ports of the Douro Valley, these wines embody the craftsmanship, tradition, and unique terroir of their respective regions.
Whether you prefer red or white, full-bodied or refreshing, Europe’s famous wines offer a captivating journey for wine enthusiasts and a delightful addition to any table.
So, these are the best 25 European wines you can try! Europe is well known for its vineyards and its wines. So whenever you next plan to go to Europe, remember to visit the best wine regions and enjoy these exotic and aroma-laden wines of Europe!