Spain may be the football Champions yet again but what about in the wine world? We’ve got the lowdown on past winning countries and their current form when it comes to wine – but who wins your European wine championship vote?
2008 & 2012 Winners – Spain (beating Germany 1-0 in 2008 and Italy 4-0 in 2012)
Spain is on fantastic form, wine-wise, with Rioja, Navarra and Rias Baixas all producing brilliant award-winning wines. Look out for some emerging players too, including wines from Mencia.
Top pick: Tesco Finest Garnacha Navarra Rose 2010, IWC Great Value Rose Award
A lush, jewel-coloured rose wine crammed with strawberry fruit and match-fit freshness. Brilliant served with half-time spicy chicken skewers.
2004 Winners – Greece (beating Portugal 1-0)
The economy might be in a bit of a pickle but Greece is at the top of their game when it comes to making some of the most exciting wines around. The names of many of the indigenous grapes are a bit of a mouthful, as are the wines (in a good way).
Top pick: Mavrodaphne of Patras Sweet Red (IWC Bronze Award)
This is a sweet red, full of lovely, textured raisin and toffee flavours. A great match for chocolate, seriously!
2000 Winners – France (beating Italy 2-1)
France has so many wine regions to choose from, picking its strongest performers is a tough job. Bordeaux is arguably still king, especially when it comes to prices, but the more down-to-earth Burgundy region continues to kick at its heels. The South of France is a go-to region for great value for money and the new wines coming out of South West France are really starting to get noticed.
Top pick: Tesco Finest Premier Cru Brut NV Champagne, (IWC Gold Award)
This wine continues its winning form picking up another gold medal at this year’s International Wine Challenge. Celebrations all round! A blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, it is beautifully complex and classic, rich with biscuit and hazelnut aromas.
1996 Winners – Germany (beating Czech Republic 2-1)
Yes, England hosted it this year and yes, were so near and yet so far. Moving on…the wines of Germany are often brilliantly balanced yet vastly overlooked. Look to the fine whites of the Mosel for a master class in how to do Riesling well.
Top pick: Tesco Finest Steillage Riesling 2010
This is a finely tuned, delicately balanced Riesling with some gentle sweetness, ripe melon fruit and an all-round lime fruit character that refreshes even the most tired taste buds.
Look out too for wines from other competing countries including England, Italy, and Portugal, all available online and in store to enjoy whilst sitting in the garden! *fingers crossed*