Mind your Latitude: 38° North

There are so many ways to look at and study wine…region, grape, wine-making techniques…even soil and farming methods. So…what about latitude? It’s worth a try!

Here’s a quick look at some of the wines and wine regions of the world that have very little in common…save for the fact that they all reside on the 38th parallel north…

Athens: Located on the southern part of the Greek mainland, Athens is considered part of the “Central Greece” wine region. This area is famous for being the home of Retsina, often made with the Savatiano grape variety (thought to be native to the region). There are no PDO regions in Central Greece, but the area does produce quite a bit of PGI-level wines from a range of grape varieties (from Cabernet Sauvignon to Assyrtiko and beyond).

Augusta, Missouri: Missouri might not seem like a wine hotspot to some, but the Augusta AVA was the first American Viticultural Area to be approved, back in June of 1980. Norton is the area’s “signature” grape variety, but the region also grows vinifera varieties (including Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay) as well as cold-hardy hybrids such as Chambourcin, Chardonel, Seyval Blanc, and Vidal.

Cosenza, Calabria: The tiny town of Consenza in Calabria (the “tip of the toe” of the Italian “boot’) is surrounded by the DOC region of Terre di Consenza. Many styles of wine are produced in this region—from white to red as well as sparkling, fortified, passito (dried grape), and late harvest. Interesting grapes grown in the Terre de Consenza DOC include Gaglioppo (best known as the main red grape in the Cirò DOC), Mantonico Bianco, and Calabrese (aka Nero d’Avola).

Izmir, Turkey: The province of Izmir, located on the Aegean Sea in far west Turkey is—along with the provinces of Manisa and Denizli—part of Turkey’s Aegean Wine Region. A wide range of grapes are grown here—including international varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay as well as local grapes such as Çal Karası and Papaskara (both red). Approximately 52% of all Turkish wine is produced in the country’s Aegean Wine Region.

Jumilla, Spain: Located in the autonomía of Murcia on Spain’s eastern coast, Jumilla is one of three DOs in the region—the other two being Yecla and Bullas. The Jumilla DO and with its two side-kicks all produce a range of wines in various styles, but are primarily known for concentrated reds and flavorful rosés based on Monastrell (aka Mourvèdre).

Middleburg, Virginia: Centered around the town of the same name, the Middleburg AVA is located about 50 miles south of Washington DC. It is bordered on the north by the Potomac River and encircled by mountains to the east, west, and south. The area’s nearly-300 acres of vines are planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Sauvignon Blanc, and Sauvignon Gris (among others).

Miyagi Prefecture, Japan: Miyagi Prefecture comprises 14 cities and a number of towns and villages; of these the capital—Sendai—is the largest and best-known. Miyagi is located on Honshu—Japan’s largest and most populous island. Honshu is also home to the majority of Japan’s vineyards and wine production. The native grape, Koshu, is grown here, as well as a variety of other grapes including Muscat of Alexandria, and Muscat Bailey-A (a Japanese hybrid).

(The city of) Napa, California: The Napa Valley AVA hardly needs an introduction…however, to be specific about the 38th parallel, the city of Napa is somewhat surrounded by the Oak Knoll, Mount Veeder, and Los Carneros AVAs. The Sonoma Valley AVA is just to the west. That means that—depending on elevation and the proximity to San Pablo Bay—this spot could produce world-class wines from Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc…and a host of other grapes as well.

Ningxia, China: Located about 500 miles (805 km) west of Beijing, the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region is considered one of the most promising areas for viticulture and wine production in China. Due to its deep, finely-grained loess soils—the area is in large part an alluvial plain formed by the Yellow River— viticulture is encouraged here both for economic and ecological reasons, as the vines help prevent erosion.

Setúbal, Portugal: Setúbal is both a commune and a DOC wine region in southern Portugal. The area is located just across the Tagus (Tejo) River from the city of Lisbon, on Portugal’s Atlantic coast. The DOC is best known for its sweet licoroso (fortified) Moscatel de Setúbal—based on the Muscat of Alexandria grape.

Click here for our post: Mind your Latitude – 40º North

References/for more information:

The Bubbly Professor is “Miss Jane” Nickles of Austin, Texas… missjane@prodigy.net

Click here for more information on our “Mind your Latitude” series

About bubblyprof
Wine Writer and Educator...a 20-year journey from Bristol Hotels to Le Cordon Bleu Schools and the Society of Wine Educators

One Response to Mind your Latitude: 38° North

  1. Pingback: Mind your Latitude: 40º North | The Bubbly Professor

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