I’ve been writing about wine travel longer than I’ve been writing about chocolate travel. So I thought I’d do a quick round up of some of the fabulous wine regions I’ve had the pleasure of visiting.
I’d say that the Rioja region of Spain is probably the most memorable wine region I’ve visited to date. Why? Because I love everything about Spain. The breath-taking scenery, the stunning architecture, the multi-layered culinary creations, the fabulous chocolate, and the full-bodied red wines that enhance pretty much any meal or occasion. This is where I discovered Tempranillo and Crianza, two bold and voluptuous reds that have brought a smile to my face on many occasions.
I also visited a winery on the island of Santorini in Greece where I discovered Boutari. Like Spain, Greece is a country filled with intense flavours and aromas. Boutari (which comes in white or red) is a great wine for pairing with Greek foods. The Nauossa Boutari red is considered the finest Greek wine and has won many prestigious awards. I haven’t had it lately, but the 2009 vintage is definitely one of my favourites.
Closer to home, in 2013 I visited wine country in California, spending time in the Napa Valley, Sonoma, and Lodi. Since familiarizing myself with the wines of Europe, I’ve considered myself an Old World wine girl, but I must say that the Old Vine Zin (Zinfandel) that I tasted in California has given me a greater respect for California wines.
I’ve also discovered some amazing wines in British Columbia, Canada, and was happy to head back to Spirit Ridge in Osoyoos in January, 2015 to do some more tasting at the Nk’Mip Cellars. They have a wide range of award-winning wines, along with nearby Burrowing Owl Winery. Last time I was at Burrowing Owl, I brought home a case of Cabernet Franc–a deep bold red–with me, but it has changed over the past few years, or maybe my taste buds have changed, as I didn’t quite enjoy the 2013 vintage as much as I had the 2006 vintage on my previous visit.
There are also some great wines being produced in the Niagara and Prince Edward County Regions of Ontario. You’ll find a fruitier variety of wines being produced in Nova Scotia, Canada, as well–perfect for hot summer days.
What’s on my wish list for wine travel? I love Bordeaux wine from France, so would love to visit that well-renowned wine region. I also love the Sauvignon Blanc white wine being produced in New Zealand, and have certainly enjoyed some of the Wolf Blass reds from Australia. And as that region of the world is on my list of chocolate travel destinations planned for Volume III of Chocolatour, you can be sure I’ll get there in the next few years. As well, I’d like to visit Chile and Argentina. In my opinion, there are few better reds than a fine Argentinian Malbec.
I hope that the grapes and vintages I’ve named will encourage you to try some new wines! And if you’re interested in wine travel, you are sure to enjoy the blog of my friend Veronica Leonard, who calls herself the wine tourist and runs this fine blog. As well, in her book, Unquenchable, wine writer Natalie MacLean shares some of her favourite places to experience wine travel.
Have you experienced travel for the sake of discovering new wines? If so, please share some memories or tips with us. Cheers!