Picture: Mosel River, Germany
The Top Ten Wine Destinations in the World
Spiral Cellars is the leading expert in wine storage in the UK. On their web site, they have published a list of the Top 10 Wine Destinations. What do you think? Obviously a London-centric selection.
The Mosel Valley (Germany)
Why should you visit? To taste the sublime Riesling – regarded by many experts as the world’s best white grape – and to marvel at its featherweight balance. The scenery is also some of the most beautiful and vertiginous in Germany and will test your calf muscles!
Wineries to visit? Dr Loosen, JJ Prüm, Heymann-Löwenstein, Fritz Haag, Egon Müller.
Restaurant tip? Richtershof (Mülheim).
Why should you visit? Partly to visit the Port lodges in Vila Nova de Gaia (on the opposite bank from Porto) but also to take the surprisingly cheap train ride up the Douro River to the vineyards where Port and Douro table wines are made. Get off in Pinhão.
Wineries to visit? Niepoort, Quinta do Crasto, Quinta do Noval, Quinta do Vallado, Poeira.
Restaurant tip? Bull & Bear (Porto).
Why should you visit? Adelaide is not as cosmopolitan as Melbourne or Sydney, but it’s the capital of the Aussie wine industry, situated within easy distance of the Barossa, Eden and Clare Valleys, the Adelaide Hills and McLaren Vale. It’s also got a great BYO restaurant scene.
Wineries to visit? Yalumba, Shaw & Smith, d’Arenberg, Geoff Merrill, Henschke.
Restaurant tip? The Star of Greece (Port Wilunga).
Queenstown (New Zealand)
Why should you visit? The scenery and the Pinot Noirs, which are some of New Zealand’s best. In a stunningly beautiful country, Central Otago still stands out. Make sure you visit Lake Wanaka, but be sure to hire a 4x4 if you’re going there off road.
Wineries to visit? Rippon, Felton Road, Mount Difficulty, Mount Edward, Bald Hills.
Restaurant tip? The Beach House (Queenstown).
Cape Town (South Africa)
Why should you visit? It may not be the country’s capital, but Cape Town is the centre of the Winelands, ideally situated for Stellenbosch, Constantia, Paarl and Hermanus as well as the vibrant restaurant scene of Franschhoek. The landscape is breathtaking.
Wineries to visit? Boekenhoutskloof, Fairview, Ernie Els, Hamilton Russell, Vergelegen.
Restaurant tip? Reuben’s (Franschhoek)
Why should you visit? To eat and drink as well as you will anywhere in France. This is the start of the Côte d’Or, Burgundy’s golden slope, which contains many of the most famous wine villages in the world, such as Meursault, Gevrey-Chambertin and Vosne-Romanée.
Wineries to visit? Louis Jadot (Beaune), Domaine Fourrier (Gevrey-Chambertin), Domaine Grivot (Vosne-Romanée), Jean-Noël Gagnard (Chassagne-Montrachet), Ghislaine Barthod (Chambolle-Musigny).
Restaurant tip? Ma Cuisine (Beaune).
Why should you visit? You might not fancy swimming in the Pacific without a wetsuit, but Santiago is ideally placed between the Andes and the sea. It’s also very close to Casablanca Valley, the Maipo Valley and San Antonio. If you’d got time, head north to the desert, too, although you won’t find any wines there. Wineries to visit? Casa Marin, Errázuriz, Santa Rita, Veramonte, Matetic.
Restaurant tip? Chiringuito (Zapallar).
Why should you visit? Argentina’s wine capital is a great place to party as well as drink wine. It also has stunning views of the Andes, one of the world’s great backdrops. The city is surrounded by vineyards, but head for the Uco Valley as your first stop.
Wineries to visit? O Fournier, Catena, Pulenta Estate, Cheval des Andes, Zuccardi.
Restaurant tip? Francis Mallmann (Mendoza).
Why should you visit? For sunshine, tapas, flamenco and, of course, Sherry. There are few more enjoyable things in life than sipping a glass of bone dry Manzanilla on the beach in Sanlucar. The Sherry bodegas are worth a visit too.
Wineries to visit? Hidalgo, González Byass, Emilio Lustau, Sandeman, Domecq.
Restaurant tip? Casa Bigote (Sanlucar de Barrameda).
Why should you visit? Visit during truffle season in autumn and you are guaranteed one of the great gastronomic breaks. Alba is the centre of the Piedmont region, home to Barolo, Barbaresco, Arneis, Dolcetto and, er, Ferrero Rocher chocolates.
Wineries to visit? Gaja, Giacosa, Conterno-Fantino, Ascheri, Vajra.
Restaurant tip? Ristorante Enoclub (Alba).