wine tagged posts

Twelve Great Bordeaux Chateaux to visit: wine, food, art and more

Chateau Margaux is one of the most prestigious chateaux in Bordeaux

Chateau Margaux

Wine touring in Bordeaux is a bit more formal than in the New World. You don’t just rock on up for a tasting and maybe an alfresco lunch. You generally have to make an appointment (which can often be done on-line) and wine tasting will include a winery tour.  But Bordeaux is certainly jumping on the bandwagon of welcoming visitors. The chateaux listed here are particularly interesting to visit because they offer something extra including blending workshops, wine and food pairing, great art, architecture and more.  Remember, though, in France only a few chateaux are open on weekends.

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Ten Napa Wineries with Great Visitor Experiences

Napa is a short trip from San Francisco

California’s Napa Valley is a Holy Grail for wine lovers yet it can be hard to figure out how to enjoy the best wine touring. Here is the low down on ten wineries with great visitor experiences as well a guerilla guide to making the most of a Napa visit with tips on how to avoid the crowds and engage with the locals.

A guerilla guide to understanding Napa

Just over an hour’s drive north of San Francisco, Napa is tiny…just eight kilometers wide and 48 kilometers long….yet it is home to more than 450 wineries.

Napa is Cabernet country. All the experts agree that it produces the world’s best big, elegant, full-bodied Cabernets with plenty of structure and age-ability. Chardonnay is the second most planted variety, especially in the Los Carneros region. Other grapes include Merlot, Petit Verdot, Malbec and Cabernet Franc (the classic Bordeaux blending varieties) as well as Sauvignon Blanc, Zinfandel and even the occasional Pinot Noir.

The Napa produce...

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Wine and long-held traditions in Victoria’s King Valley

Victoria's King Valley wine region has a strong Italian flavour

Victoria’s King Valley is a laid back wine region where you’ll not only meet the makers but you might also sit down with them over a few bottles of wine and a hearty family-style meal, much of which comes from their own veggie patches and orchards groaning with oranges, figs and apples.

Family is king in the King Valley whether it is Aussie settlers like fifth generation cattle farmers Anna Marie and Graham Forge or the Italian families, like the Pizzinis, Dal Zottos, and Politinis, who settled here after World War II. The Italians first grew tobacco but, at the encouragement of one of Australia’s oldest wine-growing families, the Brown Brothers in nearby Milawa, they became contract grape growers. In the last couple of decades, the grape growers became winemakers and today they are passionate about Italian varietals… Sangiovese, Nebbiolo, Arneis, Barbera and, of course, Prosecco.

Packing Prosecco

The Forge family is the last remaining settler family on the King River

Anne Marie and Graham Forge are the last original settler family on the King ...

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McLarenVale: Australia’s quirkiest and most laid-back wine region

McLarenVale-vines-MFP

Just 40 kilometers south of Adelaide, McLaren Vale’s undulating vineyards start in the foothills of the Mount Lofty Ranges and meander down to a pristine coastline of white sandy beaches on Gulf St. Vincent. McLaren Vale is part of the coat-hanger-shaped Fleurieu Peninsula, named by French explorer Nicholas Baudin. Its proximity to the sea creates a mellow Mediterranean climate that is marvelous not only for the vines but also for winemakers, whose laid-back style creates an easy-going ambiance that seduces all who visit. With an irreverent clutch of eccentric personalities at the helm, McLaren Vale wins the award for the quirkiest wine names in the business. Dead Arm Shiraz, Derelict Vineyard Grenache, Woop Woop, and The Mongrel head the list.

While winemaking defines the region today, McLaren Vale was a magnet for Italian immigrants after World War II and became one of the earliest places in Australia to grow olives and almonds. Today there is still a smattering of groves, orchards and dairy farms amongst the acres of Shiraz and Grenache, Italian varieties, Cabernet and some gutsy whites and this local produce is put to good use in McLaren Vale’s terrific restaurants and winery cafes. There are plenty of natural attractions, too, including marvelous beaches and the dramatic gorges of the Onkaparinga River, which offer spectacular bushwalking and rock climbing.

All in all...

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