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.
Lebanon has been producing wines for over five thousand years, and was once home to the Phoenicians â€“ perhaps the first great viticulturists whose influence spread all over Europe and the middle east, and resulted in many of the great wine regions we know and love today. Lebanese wine culture in the modern age in mainly centered in the eastern part of the country, where the climatic conditions and terroir is ideal for growing a wide range of native and imported grape varietals. Indeed, along the Syrian border, wineries have long been cultivating many fine French grape varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache, which make up for a large proportion of all the grapes grown in the country. Lebanese wineries are certainly on the increase, as more demand for the country's wines has led to a relative boom in viticulture over recent years, with the number of wineries doubling in the last decade.