It’s a forgotten patch of winemaking history and home to vines that are over 150 years old
Eddie McDougall, The Flying Winemaker from the Discovery Channel, says where you can enjoy a great glass of wine and which wine regions you need to put on your radar
Where’s the most scenic place that you’ve enjoyed a glass of wine?
There are just so many! On Table Mountain in South Africa, the Maule Valley in Chile, on a junk boat in the middle of Victoria Harbour in the heart of Hong Kong.
What’s been the most memorable glass of wine you enjoyed on your travels?
It’s not easy to answer this question as I have been so lucky to drink some of the world’s greatest wines at both my homes in Australia and Hong Kong. In Hong Kong I’d have to say it was a 1926 Marques di Murrieta’s Castillo y Gaye from Rioja, Spain, Because it was still alive after 80 years in the bottle! In Australia, I’d say it was a 2010 Vasse Felix Hytesbury Chardonnay from Margaret River. It was tasted against a same vintage of Coche Dury Meursault, one of the world’s most expensive and greatest makers from France and it was a better wine. Not better by a mile, but it just blew me away!
What’s been your most challenging trip?
Every trip for work is a challenge, but I think China today is still pretty hard to navigate especially when we were making The Flying Winemaker series. It pays to have a patient team on the road.
Is there a beverage you just wouldn’t touch?
There isn’t anything that I would say no to until after trying it once. I have had most the weird and wonderful fermented drinks from Asia and beyond. Many I wouldn’t be rushing back for a second glass, but some are tolerable.
Can you tell us about five regions that we need to know about?
1 SHANGRI-LA, CHINA
This place is just stunning, with vineyards starting to pop up in super high-altitude locations. It is a piece of untapped beauty. It’s a green paradise!
2 ELBA, ITALY
This island off the coast of Italy may be famous for being the home of Napoleon Bonaparte when he was in exile, but it’s also the home of gob-smackingly delicious sweet wines. A great way to see the area is to hire a vintage car, take the top down and cruise around with the sun blazing down on you. It’s a stunning island and the views that you will be treated to are breathtaking.
3 NINGXIA, CHINA
This is going to be one of the most important wine regions of the modern winemaking world. A dry and arid location during summer and icy cold in winter, this place is producing China’s best red wines. It’s rich in culture and the food is both hearty and warming – I would go just for the goat stew. This place is heaven for gourmands.
4 MAULE VALLEY, CHILE
It’s a forgotten patch of winemaking history and home to vines that are over 150 years old. For the serious wine lover wanting for the next big thing look out for the long lost Pais grape. This is making a killer red wine.
5 KING VALLEY, AUSTRALIA
This part of Australia that’s just 2.5 hours north east of Melbourne, is home to many Italian migrant families who have farmed the land for the last 50 to 60 years. It is now producing some of Australia’s best wines and also great expressions of Italian varietals like Pinot Grigio, Prosecco, and Sangiovese.
Award-winning winemaker Eddie McDougall has created 11 vintages across the globe. His show, The Flying Winemaker is now on the Discovery Channel