2008 saw very high yields across wineries in much of the southern hemisphere, as a result of highly favorable climatic conditions. Although in many areas, these high yields brought with them something of a drop in overall quality, this could not be said for South Australia's wines, which were reportedly excellent. Indeed, the 2008 Shiraz harvest in South Australia is said to be one of the most successful in recent decades, and western Australia's Chardonnays are set to be ones to watch out for. New Zealand's Pinot Noir harvest was also very good, with wineries in Martinborough reportedly very excited about this particular grape and the characteristics it revealed this year.
Pinot Noir also grew very well in the United States, and was probably the most successful grape varietal to come out of California in 2008, with Sonoma Coast and Anderson Valley delivering fantastic results from this grape. Elsewhere in United States, Washington State and Oregon had highly successful harvests in 2008 despite some early worries about frost.
However, it was France who had the best of the weather and growing conditions in 2008, and this year was one of the great vintages for Champagne, the MÃ©doc in Bordeaux, Languedoc-Roussillon and Provence, with Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay grapes leading the way. Italy, too, shared many of these ideal conditions, with the wineries in Tuscany claiming that their Chianti Classicos of 2008 will be ones to collect, and Piedmont's Barberesco and Barolo wines will be recognized as amongst the finest of the past decade.
Hungary's wine industry suffered a real drop in reputation throughout most of the twentieth century due to the homogenization of wines under the Soviet Union. However, today the historic wineries of Tokaj and the regions around the great Balaton lake are working tirelessly to bring Hungary's wines to the world once again, and demonstrate just how wonderful and varied the country's produce is. By far the most highly esteemed of all Hungary's wines are the famous Tokaji wines â€“ once the favorite of the crowned heads of Europe, now a favorite with anyone looking for something unique, flavorful and surprising. Tokaji wines are made using noble rot, which withers the grapes and concentrates the sugars of the fruit. The resulting wine is slightly viscous, and packed full of fascinating flavors.