2. Istria, Croatia
New visitors to Istria are shocked by the superb quality of the local wines in this region. Istria is governed by Croatia, but 10 percent of it lies in nearby Slovenia and Italy. At one time, Italy ruled Istria, and you can still hear the locals speaking both Italian and Croatian. A type of white wine called Malvasia Istriana is the beverage that makes the region most proud. Chardonnay grapes are cultivated across this history-rich, wedge-shaped peninsula. Red wine varieties include the potent Teran, as well as cabernet sauvignon and merlot. Many of these wines are blended, often with Teran in the mix. In addition to stellar wines, this area boasts postcard-pretty hilltop villages, panoramic sea views and delectable cuisine. Istria is a bucket-list destination for any wine enthusiast.