The wine tasting experience doesn’t need to be confined to wine bars and the comfort of your own home. There are an incredible number or wine holidays and vineyards across the world where you can taste some delicious wines and really begin to appreciate the differences in the wines and discover why the types of vines, seasonality and variations in production techniques has such an impact on the flavours of the wines. It’s extremely interesting and a lot of fun too; not only in the wine and holiday but you’ll also meet some incredible people along the way. Some of my favourite destinations for wine vacations are:
1. PIEDMONT, NORTHERN ITALY
I really love Piedmont. The region has some fantastic wines and the food is incredible. The best time to visit is during truffle season (October/November) when you can enjoy the sensuous truffles with a delicious local Barolo or Barbaresco.
2. PRIORAT, CATALONIA, SPAIN
A very special place. It’s a small mountainous region (100-800m asl) with breathtakingly beautiful views. Because of its steep, terraced vineyards, it resembles Douro Valley, Portugal where Port wine originates.
3. SANTORINI, GREECE
A brilliant place to go. Not only can you sunbathe and enjoy deliciously fresh seafood but I also highly recommend visiting the vineyards - they’re out of this world. The vines are completely different from any you may have seen previously and it’s extremely interesting because the vineyards don’t look like ‘traditional’ ones. Instead, they have special baskets that protect the vines from the wind and many other unique quirks. In fairness, Santorini is a very windy island but the whole wine experience, in addition to the peaceful environment and breath-taking views, is simply spectacular. If you do visit, I recommend trying Assyrtiko - the 'King of Wines' in the area. Grown from volcanic soil, it's incredible.
4. LANZAROTE, CANARY ISLANDS
A great destination for wine lovers. So many people don’t consider the Canary Islands when they think of great wine destinations but they’re really missing out. The Canary Islands, and Lanzarote in particular, produce some incredible wines and they’re very affordable too. This combined with the lovely warm weather makes Lanzarote the perfect vacation destination. You can spend your days relaxing on the beach and then, during the evenings, enjoy wine tastings at the local wineries where you can sample the many delicious local wines available. It’s a fun, delicious and very sociable experience.
‘After travelling around Asia and seemingly more exotic places, we realised that Europe actually has some of the most incredible places in the world but people just don’t realise.’
5. … AND IN LONDON, ENGLAND…
There are so many restaurants in London with great wine lists. My favourites include:
THE FIVE FIELDS, CHELSEA - One of my good friends is the sommelier there. He really looks after his wines well, the atmosphere is chic and friendly and they have an incredible selection of wines to taste.
28-50, MARYLEBONE - A collection of 3 wine bars in London, which has a great selection of wines available and offers fantastic value for money.
LAUNCESTON PLACE, SOUTH KENSINGTON- Well it’s my wine list so of course I’m biased but our wine selection is really very impressive. We have an award-winning selection of over 400 different wines, all of which were especially chosen by myself and are unique and delicious in their own way so whatever your taste, we’re sure to have something you’ll enjoy – and, for the more adventurous among you, to excite and surprise you too.
Or slightly outside of London it has to be…
THE FAT DUCK, BRAY - Not only do they have a delicious menu and a fantastic selection of wines but what I love the most is that they treat their wine cellar, sommelier team and guests in an extremely special way. It’s very experiential, welcoming experience so, whether you’re a beginner or a connoisseur, you’ll definitely have a great time.