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Local wines to try when you're abroad

11 March 2016

While you’re abroad, it’s always more fun to fully immerse yourself in the culture. Dine at the Tavernas where locals eat, sample the regional delicacies... or even have a go at speaking the language.

Local wine delicacies, complete with cheese board

Of course, the best way to get a true taste of your location is by trying the wine from the region.

Here's your guide to the best examples from France, Italy, Spain... and beyond:



Home to the world's best wine regions, France offers so many wine styles, textures and flavours that it's almost impossible to narrow the list down. From the Rhône to Burgundy via Bordeaux, Alsace and the Loire, France produces some of the most breathtaking wines that you'll ever try.

Wines to look out for: Holiday-makers on a budget will find exceptional value in the rich and spicy Syrah and Grenache-based red wines of the Languedoc region of southern France.

Similarly, white wine fans will love the cool, crisp flavours from the Loire Valley – Sauvignon Blanc from the Touraine and seafood-loving Muscadet-sur-lie are terrific economical options. For rosé wines with character and finesse, head to Provence.

Want to splash out? Head straight for a bottle of Champagne!


It's a fact – wine always tastes better when you're drinking it on the same soil that it's grown in.

Who hasn’t tried an exceptional bottle of local Retsina in Greece only to find the dozen or so bottles you’ve brought back in your suitcase are more akin to furniture polish when tasted back home.

Although Retsina still has its fans, Greek wine offers so much more for wine lovers.

Wines to look out for: Treacly-sweet Mavrodaphne is a very hip choice among wine circles right now.

If dessert wine isn’t your thing, whites made from Malagousia offer a decadent mix of stone fruit, citrus and mint. For reds and rosé, look out for those made from the noble Agiorghitiko grape.



With their soft, cherry-fresh reds and famed Pinot Grigio-based whites, Italy is leading the charge for all-round delicious wines. But don’t be deceived – wine is serious business in this country.

Second only to France in terms of wine production, you’re almost guaranteed a great-tasting wine, whatever you choose.

Wines to look out for: For weightier wines (and budgets!) Barolo and Amarone are both excellent choices. Teeming with ripe, dark fruit flavours, each offers a masterclass in finesse.

For more affordable options, try the local Chianti or Montepulciano d'Abruzzo. For whites, zippy-fresh and aromatic Gavi or wines made from the aromatic Falanghina grape are both excellent options.

Related: Top 6 free things to do in Rome



Think Spanish wine and your mind jumps immediately to Rioja. Famed for its weighty, berry-fruit flavours and silky, oak-kissed mouthfeel, this wine has three distinct levels of classification: Crianza, Reserva and – for the truly opulent – Gran Reserva.

Wines to look out for: Rioja – or course. But don’t be afraid to look further afield. Red wines from Ribera del Duero are equally fascinating as are whites from Rueda. Similarly, White wines made from the Albariño grape are a terrific choice for Tapas dishes.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.