A good glass of wine is one of life’s greatest pleasures and what better way is there to learn more about it than to visit the place it comes from? With beautiful vineyard scenery and a chance to meet the winemakers, a visit to a wine region adds a whole new dimension to your favourite tipple. To celebrate the upcoming English Wine Week, from 28th May to 5th June, here are five of the best destinations for wine tasting around the world.
The best-known of France’s many wine regions, Bordeaux has been producing wine since Roman times. The region is made up of a series of small villages and châteaux’s set around the cosmopolitan city of Bordeaux. Each place chooses from the same selection of grape varieties, including Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, but add in their own character and style. Some of the region’s highlights include the picturesque town of St Emilion, the famous chateaux of the Médoc and the sandy beaches of the Haut Médoc.
With its rolling hills scattered with rows of vineyards and golden stone villages, a visit to Tuscany truly is like stepping into a painting. Italy’s most famous wine region is renowned for its red wines like Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, but make sure not to miss the delicious Vin Santo dessert wine too. The city of Florence makes an ideal base for a Tuscan wine trip and has plenty of scenic views of its own as well as a host of Renaissance art and architecture to explore.
Napa and Sonoma, USA
Located north of San Francisco are the neighbouring wine regions of Napa and Sonoma – a perfect pit stop on a Californian coastal road trip. Napa Valley is the best known of the two with upscale eateries, limo tours and a luxurious wine train, while Sonoma is larger and more laid-back with relaxed tasting rooms and B&Bs. Napa is the place for Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and buttery Chardonnay, whereas Sonoma is better for Zinfandel, Pinot Noir, sparkling wines and unoaked Chardonnay. However, with only a 20-minute drive between them there’s no need to choose just one.
High altitude and melting snow from the Andes combine to create ideal grape growing conditions in Argentina’s Mendoza region. You’ll find a range of grape varieties there, from Merlot and Torrontés to Chardonnay and Viognier. However it’s Malbec, a deep rich red wine that goes perfectly with an Argentinian steak, that Mendoza is most known for. The area’s wine region surrounds the city of Mendoza, a place where you can take a trip up the Andes Mountains or try out the adventure sports in Aconcagua National Park.
Marlborough, New Zealand
At the top of New Zealand’s South Island, Marlborough is the country’s largest wine growing region. It’s world famous for its Sauvignon Blanc, as well as producing good Chardonnay, Riesling and Pinot Noir. Base yourself in the city of Blenheim and cycle out to the surrounding vineyards, which include big names like Cloudy Bay, Brancott Estate and Oyster Bay. Plus if you want a break from wine, you can take a boat trip through the stunning coastline of the nearby Marlborough Sounds.