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 has several important wine producing regions, all of which benefit from the mineral rich soils which are fed by the mighty Danube and Tisza rivers, or are located on the banks of Lake Balaton, Europe's largest lake. The climate of Hungary is ideal for viticulture â€“ long, blazingly hot summers followed by balmy autumns and late winters, and wineries have been making the country's unique produce for over a thousand years, with many wine regions having been in use since the Roman times. Today, Hungary is mostly known for its sweet white wines, most notably from the Tokaj region, where the grapes are given over to noble rot which intensifies the sugars and flavors, and results in astonishing wines of exceptional character and aroma.