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South Australia is the largest producing state in the country and Clare Valley is one of its most reputed sub-regions. It lies above the Barossa Valley and about 120 kilometres north of Adelaide. Its naturally warm climate is tempered by cool breezes that blow in the afternoon, as well as the high altitude, with some of its vineyards lying 570 metres above sea level. Clare Valley is famous for the riesling grape that was first planted here back in the 19th century by immigrants from Germany’s Silesia. The warm climate is no hindrance to a full expression of this variety which is more commonly grown in cooler places. Here it is aromatically expressive, whilst its keen acidity makes for a wine that will keep well for several years.
The Vinho Verde region lies in Northern Portugal, close to the Atlantic Ocean and running up to the border with Spanish Galicia. Both vegetation and topography form a strking contast with those of the usually stark and mountaneous Douro Valley (where Port is produced) to the south and east. Here all is green and moist and production is essentially of white wines that are usually light and fresh, made to be drunk young. Such wines are well adapted to local foodstuffs which often mix fish and sea-food with pork and vegetables. There are five main local grape varieties of which arinto, loureiro and trajadura are the most planted, along with alvarinho which is strongly represented in the Monção sector in the north. Together with its white wines, there is also some production of red Vinho Verde which is essentially drunk locally.
Croatia’s Dalmatian coastline has more to offert than a summer tourist’s paradise. Hot and dry summers, limestone soils and cooling maritime influence also have beneficial effects on the vine.
Brač is the largest of the many islands that lie along this coastline. Croatian wines have only emerged recently on the international scene but they are rapidly gaining a niche reputation. This country has a long tradition of wine production with many indigenous grape varieties. In the inner part of the country, most of these are white, but red grapes dominate along the coast. Here one of the most intesting red varieties is Plavac Mali, whose strong personnality gives us powerful and full-bodied wines that benefit from barrel ageing and will keep well.