As Linda Johnson-Bell put it, “Like human beings, a wine’s taste depends a great deal on its origins and upbringing.’’ Set free in the aromatic Winelands that are famed as the motherland of the most popular wines around the world. Immerse into the majestic grandeur of the most elegant wines, taking form under distinct climates, soils and spirited producers, who yearn to introduce the centuries-spanning history of their wines in the most genuine environment. Tag along with a local guide if you are a wine connoisseur and want to experience sojourning in the top wine regions of the world, discovering authentic regional wines.
Argentina experienced a prodigious wine boom in the 20th century which placed it as the fifth-largest wine-producing area of the World. The emerging eco-tourism spot Mendoza is known for its 100s of wineries distributed among its three major wine regions, Maipu, Uco and Lujan de Cuvo Valley. The semi-arid region nurtures its emblematic grape, Malbec, along with others like Tempranillo, mauve-skinned Cereza and Bonarda.
Besides, a white wine revolution is hitting the Argentinian vineyards due to widely grown Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Criolla Grande and Torrontes, drawing intrigue from a global platform for a great number of polyphenols. Observe the blend of innovation and tradition as your local guide introduce you to Huarpes who constructed an irrigation system that benefits the region’s rich wineries.
Stumble upon the unique Yellow mountain of Mendoza. Moreover, if you seek adventure, after a hearty gulp sip of the glass, set out forty miles away to Potrerillos for rafting, hiking and paragliding; skiers could also gaggle to nearby Las Lenas Ski Resort for off-piste opportunities in winters.
THRACIAN VALLEY- BULGARIA
Check out one of the oldest winemaking regions in the world. An epitome since the 5th Century BC, Thracian Valley is observed as the birthplace of Dionysus, the ancient Greek God of Wine. It enjoys a mild climate by the Black Sea, maintaining the acidity in its glinty grapes. Mavrud is one of the essential red grapes which imbibes all qualities necessary.
Another such grape is Rubin, known for its spicy nature. On the other hand, white wines are obtained from Misket, Chardonnay and Viognier grapes. Seek the best wines to relish in Bulgaria like Orbelus, Rossidi, Hrumki and Eolis. Become a spectator of the rolling hills while on a walk through the lush greenery holding the cultured vinegary stem. Top up the tour by visiting Kabile Fortress and Bulgarian Stonehedge along with your tour guide.
France’s sobriquet, Bordeaux embrace several ambrosial vineyards, often coveted by wine connoisseurs around the world. Some of the best are distributed on the gravel soil surrounding the majestic Gironde River with Cabernet sauvignon on the left and Merlot on the right. Although 90% of the wine produced in the region is red, the morning fog that collects over the white skins results in fungus, also known as Botrytis, desiccating and sweetening them even more to produce one of the sweetest white wines in the world.
Must try bottles of Bordeaux wines would be Chateau de Rouquette, Chateau de la Huste Fronsac, Vignol Clairet and more during your tour. Let your Bordeaux guide introduce you to the Vintage variation that will tingle your senses, ringing the Opera inside. You can also pair it with Pork and fries to tame the boldness of Bordeaux wines with a rich meaty backdrop.
Spend the rest of your time in this city, known as Europe’s largest architectural centre exploring the Grand Theatre, Les Alees de Touny, Place de la Bourse along with magnificent museums and galleries positioning it under UNESCO World Heritage.
LA RIOJA- SPAIN
Delve into quintessential Oak scented Rioja vineyards driven by yale-blue Tempranillo grapes, also nicknamed Tinto Fino. These grapes are best nurtured in a maritime climate and clay soil. Trace the course of Ebro River in the yards situated between two towns, Haro and Alfaro, sipping barrel-aged red wines. American oak maturation adds flavours of coconut and vanilla to the traditional Rioja, gracing it in a modern style. One of the oldest wineries in the region, Bodegas Marques de Riscal produces more than 3 million bottles of red wine per year. Let the guide tell you some exciting tidbits related to the region’s winemaking history stretching back to the Roman times between 200 BC and 6th Century AD.
Some of the popular wines of the region include “CVNE Imperial Reserva’’, a balance of spicy and fruity, “Izadi Reserva”, imbibing both modern and classic traits, and “Marques de Murrieta Dalmau Reserva” with the most modern approach. Don’t forget to pair the fruity wines with Rioja’s spicy Chorizo and Manchego Cheese.
Tuscany is the epitome of Italian wine, famed for its Sangiovese wines ranging from sour cherries to fruity notes like rich raspberries. Sangiovese grapes grow on higher elevations of the hillside in Tuscany, which experiences high temperature and gets direct sunlight, balancing the sugar content as well as acidity while keeping the aroma rich. The region gains its warm Mediterranean climate from the Tyrrhenian Sea and thus makes the grape more versatile.
More than 80% of the region’s wines are red. Apart from Sangiovese, other popular varieties are Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Pinot noir and Syrah. For Tuscan whites, Trebbiano is followed by Vermentino and Vernaccia in popularity. Take back with you some of the most demanded bottles like Rosso di Altesino, a mixture of Cab and Merlot, Terra di Monteverro, bold and charming in its propriety and Nottola Anterivo, known for being sturdy and complex.
Move away from Tuscan vineyards, slather on some sunscreen and relax at the Punta Ala. Explore food, fashion and art in Florence. You can also visit Volterra’s amphitheatre and Colle de Val d’Elsa’s outstanding craft Museum. Also, cover a UNESCO medieval town, San Gimignano along with the gothic Abbey of San Galgano in Siena.
MAIPO VALLEY- CHILE
Unlock the Devil’s Cellar at hundred years old Concha y Toro and come face to face with some of the most exalted legends. Learn the myth linked to the cellar that made everyone tremble in fear at the time. You can also visit Causino, Macul and Santa Rita, all three spreading across from Santiago to the Pacific Ocean. The valley constitutes 30,000 acres of vineyards, majorly covered with Cabernet Sauvignon while other varieties include Carmenere, Merlot, Syrah and Chardonnay. The wines here are known for their quality ageing and controlled fermentation due to drip irrigation facilities.
Visit a young winery, Perez Cruz, to savour some of the most appetizing wines your palate might come across. Relish lunch at the fancy Dona Paula Restaurant in the gorgeous Santa Rita Estate. Once you are full, you can also pay a visit to the Cathedral of San Bernardo and meet the wildlife of Buin Zoo.
Devil’s Cellar, Concha y Toro
VAYOTS DZOR- ARMENIA
Set foot in the world’s first wine-producing region that is also mentioned in the bible. Even the legend claims, “Noah was the first man who planted the grapevine in the Ararat Valley.’’ The scenic province lies in the southeast Armenia, housing world’s oldest wine cellar in the Areni Cave. Areni Grape is a prominent grape of Armenia, which quickly gets distinguished for its conspicuous aroma and is used to make lustrous ruby-red wine. Black Areni is famed for its healing and disease resistant qualities. The region’s wine also attributes its uniqueness to Voskehat, known as ‘’golden berry’’, an ancient white grape variety used for sparkling wines that are best suited as desserts. Areni has been predicted as one of the flagship wine grapes of the future by the grape geneticist, Jose Vouillamoz.
Explore Yeghegnadzor Regional Museum to know every important insight about the region’s archaeology, or just feel the breeze along the breath-taking mountains and graceful river valleys of the region. Don't forget to pay a visit to the winter delight Jermuk City.
PODRAVJE REGION- SLOVENIA
Trudge the rolling hills encountering occasional red-roofed houses and relax in the peaceful hilltop villages while sampling a baked lamb with Illyrian crafted Slovenian wines. Podravje region, centred around the key towns of Maribor and Ormoz, is among the top 4% wine regions of the world. The Pannonian climate with high-temperature fluctuations supports the wide variety of grapes planted in the region, including whites like Italian Riesling, Furmint, Yellow Muscat and Traminec, and reds like Blue Franconian, Pinot Noir and Zametna Crnina. Slovenia is known for its elegant white wines, most of which are of international descent and a few indigenous varieties. Sparkling wines like Radgona have a long tradition in Slovenia with a floral and fruity aroma.
Some of the unique experiences of the region include witnessing Predicate Wine harvesting by maturation, dry berry selection and processing with your Sommelier. Drive a few miles if you have time and reach Maribor ski resort, Cathedral and Castle.
This ancient holy city in North Maharashtra, also known as the Wine Capital of India, is hilly in its terrain with a usually warm climate, ideal for the growth of grapes used in winemaking. The undulating landscape trickled with lush rivers, and lakes provide with good drainage conditions and chemical composition, which results in high-quality wine grapes.
Cabernet Sauvignon, Chenin Blanc, Shiraz and Sauvignon Blanc are the prominent grape varieties. The flavours are easily distinguishable and contain specific acid-sugar balance. Dine at the cosy restaurant overlooking the aromatic vineyard. Get served the most popular wines such as Zinfandel, Madera Red, Rasa Shiraz and Soul tree Sauvignon Blanc.
Apart from the wine tour, you can also set out for some of the holiest spots in the city like The Shiva Temple, Kapileswara Temple, Ram Kund Ghat, Pandavleni Caves and more.
MOSELLE VALLEY- GERMANY
Embraced with a scenic tributary of the Rhine, 40% of the valley’s vineyards are located on steep slopes and the best-faced south. It is along this river gorge that you can relish the most classic Riesling Whines ranging from bone dry to excessively sweet.
The steepest is Calmount Vineyard nurturing the Mosel Riesling, responsible for some of the finest whites in the world like Mullerthurgau, also known as Rivenar, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc. Regent, Dornfelder and Pinot Noir account for the remaining 10% of the red wines in the region. German Riesling is known to last for up to 40 years while obtaining a golden hue with a whiff of honey and petroleum, which makes it extremely intriguing. Sit amongst the stunning panorama with the Rhine enveloping the sun-kissed, lush green vineyards taking in the view of a cluster of Germanic houses, set in a heavenly paradise.
Add irresistible attractions of the valley to your list by walking to the Old town, Alte Burg, a 12th century Castle on the banks of Moselle, Ehrenbreitstein Fortress or you can also opt for a Rhine cruise to Rudesheim.
CANARY ISLANDS- SPAIN
From mentions into Shakespearean plays, Canary Islands have gained much popularity due to George Washington penning a letter to a friend complaining about stomach ailments and asking her to bring Canary wine to savour a gallant daily dose.
Whites are predominant here, ranging from dry to citric qualities. The reds are as dark as black, ranging from peppery to leather, mocha and black fruit. Lanzarote, set in the easternmost region of Canary Islands, binds the plantation with a misty atmosphere and dark grey soil giving the vineyards a bizarrely dark yet unique look. The Phylloxera disease that disrupted European grapes could never bother the Canaries. Thus, some of the types of grapes that vanished from the European land like Marmajuelo and Listan Negro still grow in the Canaries. Catch up with some of the best Canary Wines like Islas Forastera Blanca, El Chibrique, Malvasia Volcanica Seco and Rubicon Semi Dulce.
Once satisfied with the ecstatic wine tour, let your local guide lead you to Teide National park, Timanfaya National Park, Gran Canaria Beaches, Museum of Fine Arts and numerous other attractions. Set gaze at the wild waves of Lanzarote from the top of the Costa Teguise Stone Tower Fortress.
https://flic.kr/p/ohAq5p - Mariano Mantel
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