Italy, France and Spain. When talking about these countries, normally one would think about food or soccer but there is another field these countries are strong players in – the wine field! These three countries are the strongest producers of wine in Europe, differentiating them from the rest in terms of quality and innovation. Let’s take a closer look.France: More Than ChampagneWhen you think of France, you surely think of champagne! This bubbly brew produced exclusively in the Champenoise Valley in the Northern part of France, has won a world over. The three main grape varieties used to produce champagne are Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay. These give life to a savory wine with persistent notes of golden apple, bread crust, croissants and yellow flowers. But France is not just champagne. It is also home to Burgundy wines, located in Central-Eastern France. This is where wonderful red wines made from Pinot Noir or white wines made from Chardonnay are from. Then there is the Bordeaux region in Gironde where red wines such as Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are produced and white wines such as Sauvignon, Sémillon and Muscadelle.Spain: Producing Wine in NumbersThe Iberian Peninsula, in particular Spain, has some of the largest vineyards in the world, and ranks third as wine producer, after Italy and France. The most common of red grapes in Spain are the Tempranillo grapes which are used to produce Rioja. The white wine grape variety is the Albarino, which is very widespread throughout Rias Baixas. Spain has been producing wine for centuries, since the discovery of the Americas and these large quantities of wine have been of the table wine variety, for common use purposes, such as in sangria! This is a drink which balances its missing elements with fresh fruit. But this is not all Spain is famous for when it comes to wine. In recent years, Spanish winemakers have refined their techniques and quality especially when it comes to Rioja, Priorato, Penedès and Jerez, creating very interesting products from an aromatic and organoleptic point of view.Italy: The Great Tradition of WinemakingThere is a substantial difference between Italian wine and those of France and Spain. Wine is produced in very defined areas of France and Spain whereas in Italy, wine is produced almost everywhere thanks to its wonderful climate. Every single Italian region (and there are 20 of them) produces wine, with a wine of excellence from every one of them. The south has excellent wines from Campania and Sicily, the center boasts wines from the prestigious region of Tuscany and Umbria, and the north has Veneto and Piedmont wines. It is difficult to do a complete overview of these wines, most especially because you could also break them down into denominations of quality such as DOCG or DOC such as Brunello di Montalcino or Nobile di Montepulciano (province of Siena) to Chianti Classico and the Bolghieri area, red wines with great body and structure. Piedmont deserves a personal mention as it is home to Nebbiolo which is the base grape variety for the renowned Barolo and Barbaresco. These are wines with impressive structure and remind the world just how structured, diffused and traditional wine is in Italy.