Five Wine Trails to Add to your Bucket List
Some say wine in itself can take you places with just a sip from your glass. This is true to some extent; however, there’s something about drinking a wine right from the place where it was produced.
Drinking a Rioja red wine in Spain or a Cabernet Sauvignon in Maipo Valley is more than just sipping wine–it’s an unforgettable experience. You get to enjoy the rich flavours of your drink, as well as the beauty and bounty of the place you set foot in.
Today, more people have gained an interest in the world of wine and have started exploring the industry, ticking off their bucket list as they go on wine trails one by one.
And to get your wine palate tingling and your legs moving, here are five of the best wine trails to add to your bucket list:
Being one of the biggest winemaking regions in Portugal, Alentejo has more than 250 wine producers and is home to over 500 native grapes. But part of the reason Alentejo is able to produce a great variety of wines is the presence of different kinds of soil in the area such as granitic, calciferous, and Mediterranean red soils.
Visitors can drop by three different rotas dos vinhos (or wine routes) in Alentejo to sample wines and other local delicacies. These wine routes include:
Rota dos Vinhos de Sao Mamede – runs from Portalegre to Campo Maior
Rota do Guadiana – runs from Cuba to Trindade
Rota Historica das Linhas de Torres – around the area of Evora and Minhos
While you wine buffs are welcome to visit Alentejo throughout the year, the most exciting time to go would be in November when the Festa de Vinha e do Vinho (Festival of Vine and Wine) in Borba is celebrated. It is one of Alentejo’s grandest occasions where wines from giant clay pots are served to passers-by. Other festivities like parades and concerts are also held in the region.
18th century wine merchants and connoisseurs have considered this city almost royal, with its extravagant mansions and beautiful city squares. Today, Bordeaux is known as the centre of the fine wine world. Among the most prestigious wine regions in the globe, Medoc should definitely be on every wine lover’s bucket list. The region is home to four of the five coveted premier grand cru class: Margaux, Mouton Rothschild, Latour, and Lafite. The fifth, Haut-Brion, is situated at Pessac-Leognan.
Because of the vastness of the area surrounding the crus, we recommend staying a couple of days, as it’s highly improbable to visit all five crus in one day.
Bordeaux holds several wine-themed festivals throughout the year but the most notable one is the Fête du Vin extravaganza in June. Hundreds of tourists flock the city during this month just to experience some of the world’s exquisite wines.
Maipo Valley is the birthplace of the Chilean wine industry. It covers roughly 30,000 acres of vineyards, half of which are dedicated to cultivating Cabernet Sauvignon, its most celebrated wine.
Often described as the Bordeaux of South America, Maipo Valley also produces some of the world’s most famous red wines such as Pinot Noir and Carmenere.
Concha y Toro, the largest producer of wines in the country, is famous for displaying the original “devil’s cabinet” from which one of the most valuable brands, Castillero del Diablo, is derived from.
The devil’s cabinet was a beautiful cellar where the best vintage wines were kept during the 19th century. It belonged to politician and businessman Don Melchor, who created the tale that a devil lived in the cellar to discourage theft after some of his wine went missing.
So if you’re up for conversations on 19th century devil lockers while drinking a glass of the finest Cabernet Sauvignon, then Maipo Valley should certainly be your next destination.
La Rioja, Spain
Rioja wine has always been associated with its home country. Some say they immediately picture the streets of Spain and smell the scrumptious dishes of the country as they consume the vino. It’s safe to say that Rioja is basically Spain in a glass of wine.
La Rioja is the prime wine region of Spain, with grapes such as Tempranillo, Grenache, Mazuelo, and Graciano. Although there are white wines bearing the Rioja name, it is still best-known as red wine around the world.
Visitors can get a taste of these wines in the grand hacienda Lopez de Heredia and Bodegas Baigorri, known as one of the most stunning wineries in the country.
And as expected, these wines match pleasantly with La Rioja’s specialty lamb and pork dishes, tapas and chorizos. You wouldn’t want to miss this perfect combination!
It’s very uncommon to dream about wine when one thinks about Santorini. It’s no surprise since this precious gem of a Greek island is more famous for romantic dates with adventures in its famous Caldera and views of its breath-taking sunsets.
However, this island’s sceneries are certainly as rich as its wine culture. In fact, Santorini is slated to host the very first International Wine Tourism Congress this October 2016.
Santorini is home to nine indigenous grape varieties that include the famous Assyrtiko. The first trace of this kind was found buried in a prehistoric village at Akrotiri after a volcanic eruption that almost destroyed the island. Assyrtiko has an unusual quality of maintaining high levels of alcohol and acidity and the wine produced is considered the finest white wine in Greece.
In between wine-tasting, you should consider to visit Santorini’s Koutsoyannopoulos Wine Museum, just outside the village of Vothonas. This unique museum happens to be nestled in a cave eight meters below the ground and shows about everything you need to know on the island’s ancient wine-making process.
Experiencing Santorini’s wine is definitely going to be one of your most memorable wine trails. Who knows? You might find yourself drinking some fine Assyrtiko wine to end a romantic date under a breath-taking sunset.
Quite honestly, this list isn’t enough to cover the best places with the top notch vino the wine industry offers. But these wine trails are worth adding to your bucket list because they are certainly going to fulfil your vino dreams. So keep ‘em corks popping–your vino journey awaits.