The year 2011 was an interesting year for many northern and central European countries, as the weather was more than unpredictable in the spring and summer. However, in most countries, the climatic conditions thankfully settled down in the late summer and fall. The result of this slightly difficult year of weather in France was a set of surprisingly small yields, but overall, these yields were of a higher quality than those harvested in certain previous years. A fantastic set of wines was also made in Italy and Spain, and the Rioja wines - when released - are set to be very good indeed. Austria also had superb year in 2011, with almost fifty percent more grapes being grown and used for their distinctive Gruner Veltliner wines than in the year before. Possibly the European country which had the finest 2011, though, was Portugal, with wineries in the Douro region claiming this year to be one of the best in decades for the production of Port wine, and the bright, young Vinho Verdes wines.
In the New World, the Pacific Northwest saw some of the best weather of 2011, and Washington State and Oregon reportedly had a highly successful year, especially for the cultivation of high quality red wine grapes. Chile and Argentina had a relatively cool year, which certainly helped retain the character of many of their key grape varietals, and should make for some exciting drinking. South Africa had especially good weather for their white wine grape varietals, particularly Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, and many South African wineries are reporting 2011 as one of their best years in recent memory.
For over five thousand years, Lebanon has been producing wines. This ancient and proud country has been involved with viticulture for longer than almost every other location on earth, and there are plenty of historical records demonstrating how Lebanese wines were in high demand by the ancient Egyptian Pharaohs, just as they are popular with those looking for something unique and delicious to this day. The vast majority of grapes cultivated in modern Lebanon are of French origin, with many Bordeaux and Loire Valley varietals being grown in large quantities in the more temperate eastern part of the country. However, there is increasing enthusiasm for native varietals, and we can expect to see more and more wines made with indigenous Lebanese grapes in wine stores around the world over the next few years.