2012 has, so far been a positive year for wineries around the world. While it may be a little too early to speak of the wines being made in the northern hemisphere, European and North American wineries have already begun reporting that their harvesting season has been generally very good, and are predicting to continue with the kind of successes they saw in 2011. However, 2012 has been something of a late year for France, due to unpredictable weather throughout the summer, and the grapes were ripening considerably later than they did in 2011 (which was, admittedly, an exceptionally early year). French wineries are claiming, though, that this could well turn out to be advantageous, as the slow ripening will allow the resulting wines to express more flavour and features of the terroir they are grown in.
The southern hemisphere has seen ideal climatic conditions in most of the key wine producing countries, and Australia and New Zealand particularly had a superb year, in particular with the Bordeaux varietal grapes that grow there and which love the humidity these countries received plenty of. Also enjoying a fantastic year for weather were wineries across Argentina and Chile, with the Mendoza region claiming that 2012 will be one of their best vintages of the past decade. Similar claims are being made across the Chilean wine regions, where Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon had an especially good year. These two grape varietals also produced characterful wines on the coastal regions of South Africa this year.
Hungary is a country not always readily associated with wines and viticulture, and yet this central European country has one of the most unique and important wine cultures in the Old World. The regions around Lake Balaton produce many of the most elegant and flavorful white wines to be found anywhere, characterized by their slight sweetness and flavors of elderflower and gooseberry. However, it is the historic Tokaj region which really shines as Hungary's premier wine producing area, as this is the home to the 'noble rot' wines which carry such interesting and unique flavors and aromas, adored by serious wine lovers worldwide and influencing vintners across the globe. Tokaji wines tend to be slightly viscous, and packed full of surprising notes of marzipan, dried apricot and candied peel, and are a great example of Hungary's exciting wine culture and history.