By LL Editorial StaffWhen it comes to turning grapes into grappa, Europe is the worldís leading wine producer. But donít discount some of the globeís other regions, such as Californiaís Wine Country, South Africa, Chile and Australia. Each destination boasts idyllic climates and conditions for producing wine with each offering its own distinct varietals.
The Eiffel Tower may be the most notable French landmark, but for oenophiles it is Franceís Loire Valley that leaves a more lasting impression. A producer of more than 75% of French wines, the Loire Valley has a grape-growing advantage due it its rich and fertile soil coupled with an ideal climate. The region produces some savory red varietals, but itís mostly known for its white wines, such as Sauvignon Blanc. From the Loire Valley head to the rolling hills of Burgundy, another wine growing region fraught with vineyards and epicurean discoveries. La Bonne Étape, located in the enchanting village of Provence, is a charming 18th century post house with a collection of well-appointed rooms and suites plus an ideal location.
Just like the Italian people, much of the wine produced in Italy is bold and robust. Perhaps the countryís most well known wine region is Chianti, sandwiched between Siena and Florence. The winemakers in Chianti, known for their flavorful reds, donít bother with machines to crush their grapes; instead, they do the honors themselves by stomping the plump fruit with their feet. During the fall, visitors to Chianti are often invited to participate in the crush creating an unforgettable experience for each and every stomper. Not only is the region teeming with acre after acre of grapevines and vineyards, it also has an abundance of olive groves. Marignolle Relais & Charme, offers an incredible tour to Chianti or San Gimignano that is included in the hotel package. Located in Florence, this property is guaranteed to bring you to the fine wines perfect for the connoisseur.
Like England, Germany is often thought of first and foremost for its beer. After all, it is home to Munichís world-famous Hofbrauhaus, a beer hall known for its giant steins. But the Baden region, near the Black Forest, is more about Pinot Gris than it is about Pale Ale. In addition to Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir is another notable wine that comes from this region, and anyone who saw the film Sideways knows that itís a grape that only grows in very specific, little tucked away corners of the world with Baden being one of those nooks. What makes the region a bit more inviting is the fact that many of the wineries also have adjacent bistros, so you can pair a meal with one of your wine acquisitions. While experiencing Germanyís wine region on terra firma is exciting, observing it from high above proves to be exhilarating. Combine your visit to Baden with a hot-air balloon excursion courtesy of U.S. Hot Air Ballooning, where the journey begins and ends in Frankfurt. You will soar over vineyards at sunrise, glide past countless castles, and toast your good fortune with a locally-produced vintage at the end of the each day.
It is a little known fact that Portugal is the birthplace of Port wine and it can only be considered Port wine if it is produced in the countryís Douro region. Douroís micro-climate guarantees a smooth and unique taste unlike other wines that claim to be Port. Aged in either casks or bottles, which can take many years to mature, Port wine could be considered a delicacy when you consider the timely process. While exploring the region, venture down south to Lisbon and stay at the lovely Altis Avenida Hotel, a luxurious modern hotel located on the West Iberian Peninsula. Surrounded by grape-laden vineyards and spectacular scenery, the resort is streamlined, stylish and near many of the wineries.