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.
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.