Touring the world’s wine hotspots – Metro US

Touring the world’s wine hotspots

Who doesn’t enjoy a glass of wine every once in while, whether you’re a serious connoisseur or someone who has a glass or two when you’re letting your hair down.

Take your appreciation of the grape one step further and take a trip to a wine country, where you can learn about the complex wine making process from local experts.

Chile is huge, so narrow your wine visit to Colchagua or the Aconcagua Valley. Aconcagua’s close proximity to the capital city of Santiago makes it a practical starting point, but it’s also home to the much loved Cabernet Sauvignon as well as the Carmenere, a rich chocolatey grape unique to Chilean soils.

In Colchagua, stay at one of the guesthouses at winery Casa Lapostolle, which offers wine tasting tours as well as hikes across the countryside and body massages — perfect for curing hangovers; www.lapostolle.com.

The unassuming village of Epernay, northeast of Paris is home to the vineyards owned by famous champagne house, Moet and Chandon. A visit of the Moet cellar will offer both an insightful lesson on how to add bubbles to wine, but a historical one as well.

Moet also owns the one and only Dom Perignon vineyard — Dom Perignon, a monk turned cellarer, was a pioneer in the discovery of champagne-making in 1668. Champagne Moet et Chandon, 18 avenue de Champagne, Epernay; www.moet.com.

South Africa
After the fall of apartheid in 1994, wine production soared and areas including Stellenbosch blossomed. The combination of a mild climate and oceanic breezes gives ideal vine-growing conditions, so the wines produced here are excellent.

The Spier vineyard, a short journey from Cape Town, is a good place to start your discovery of the region’s delicious wines, with a tasting course that teaches you to train your nose and palate to detect aromas and flavours. Lynedoch Road (R310) Stellenbosch, spierwines.co.za/spier/winetasting

At the heart of the Province of Cadiz is the Sherry Triangle, spanning the cities of Jerez de la Frontera, El Puerto de Santa María and Sanlúcar de Barrameda. This is the only region in the world where the fortified wine is officially produced. Towns reflect the regions’ heavy Moorish heritage, from the ornate buildings to the villagers’ relaxed way of life. Visit the oldest bodega (or wine cellar), Pedro Domecq, where various tasting courses are offered. Come nighttime, stay in tune with tradition and enjoy an evening of flamenco dancing fuelled by a glass of sherry of course. C/San Ildefonso 3, 11403, Jerez de la Frontera, www.bodegasfundadorpedrodomecq.com

Australians are known for the laid back, breezy attitude — same goes for their wine industry. Barossa Valley in the south, home to the world’s oldest Shiraz vineyards dating back to the 1840s, will suit all sorts of wine lovers, from enthusiasts to absolute beginners.

Whether you’re after a five-star gourmet tour of the vineyards or you would rather pay your way with a grape-picking, backpacking tour through the region,Barossa has it all.

From Jacob’s Creek to Wolf Blass, you’ll find an array of tasting courses and wine tours in the area. So take your pick; see www.jacobscreek.com and wolfblass.com.au

Simon Field, a Master of Wine and a buyer for prestigious and historic London wine merchants, Berry Brothers, gave Metro details on his favourite place for a wine lovers’ holiday:
“Champagne is a wonderful region of France to travel to. It’s the spiritual home of sparkling wines which cannot be beaten in quality. Make sure you head to both the city of Reims and the town of Epernay, where you can visit one of the great houses that line the glamorous Avenue de Champagne… perhaps a famous name such as Perrier Jouet or Moet et Chandon.

To dig a little deeper why not head for one of the wonderfully-named surrounding villages, perhaps Dizy or Bouzy and visit one of the smaller growers, including Jacquesson or Billecart Salmon.