Everyone likes a fine wine from time to time. The heady flavours of a good red, or the bright, fruity zing of a crisp white can be just the tonic when you’ve had a long week. A good glass of wine can be a transformative experience, carrying us off from our sofas to a serene vineyard or a sunny villa. So why not consider combining the delights of travel and wine-tasting to take a tasting tour?
France has emerged as possibly the foremost wine-tasting destination in the world. Not only do you get to pamper your palette with a range of fine wines, you can also enjoy everything else the country has to offer. This includes a deep, dazzling history, a range of culinary delights and top cultural hotspots. There are a number of wine-tasting regions in France. Here are three of the best to help you make up your mind!
Located in the north eastern quarter of France, in Alsace you can taste some of the country’s finest wines. The Alsace Wine Route goes from north to south of the region along the eastern foothills of the Vosges. The vineyards spread up and down the hills, so you can enjoy the additional bonus of the views of the area. You’ll have the chance to stay in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Strasbourg, right on the Franco-German border, just 30 minutes from the wine region. While you’re there, you can squeeze in some extra tourism with a visit to Strasbourg Cathedral and the Palais Rohan.
Burgundy is a cultural capital offering some of the greatest wines in the world. Grapes grow on the south-facing slopes of the Côtes de Beaune and the Côtes de Nuits and ferment into lighter, more fragrant wines. The variety of local cuisine and cheeses are sure to be a draw for any Francophile! The town of Beaune itself is a beautiful medieval centre with fully pedestrianized access. Here you can stroll the streets and forget about your worries. Cycling is a great way to explore any town, but here in particular you can ride safely and securely, and really get to know the place.
Probably the most famous wine region, Champagne is well worth a visit if you’re looking to steep yourself in the history of this wonderful drink. You can take the Eurostar directly from St Pancras in London, or make the two hour drive from Calais to the area and get your wine tasting tour underway. Chin chin!
Eleanor Quixley is a chef and wine lover. When not running a busy kitchen, she likes to head to Brittany at the weekends and relax with her husband and two children.