7 Places Sparkling Wine Lovers Have to Visit
A happy feeling comes with getting hold of your favorite sparkling wine served in a nicely chilled flute. Be it sparkling cider, classic champagne, prosecco, or Cava, enjoying these effervescent drinks instantly induces a celebratory mood. While you can enjoy your glass at home, wine lovers agree that traveling to the place of origin and drinking against its source is the best way to enjoy wines. That said, plan a trip to one of the following sparkling wine prime spots.
Champagne Region, France
The champagne region in France is undisputedly popular as it is the only source of true champagne and other brands of sparkling wines. Situated in the Northeast of Paris, you access the famed effervescence by taking a day trip by car or train. Fortunately, several tour companies offer daily tours to the region for enthusiastic wine lovers.
You can plan to commute from the City of Light to Reims, which is the Champagne capital, or book your stay in Reims for extensive adventure. While in the region, ensure that you tour the Ruinart quarries, which is the oldest champagne house in the region, for some glass of vintage brut rose. The nearby Taittinger is also a good place to explore and learn some eco-friendly wine manufacturing techniques used by the family on its 700-acre vineyard.
While it is the main source of champagne, this doesn’t mean that you won’t enjoy other commercial brands in this region. Many other producers offer a plethora of experiences for bubbly taste seekers. For instance, the family-owned Champagne Gremillet has up to eight labels to explore, including the 100 percent Pinot Noir and Blanc de Blanc sparkling wine options.
Besides the great champagne, expect some great history and stunning architecture, including the Gothic Notre-Dame de Cathedral and the Vueve Clicquot’s.
Your trip to Barcelona won’t be complete without clinking glasses in the local bars. However, wine lovers have a chance to explore the methode champenoise, the popular traditional method of manufacturing sparkling wine, first hand. The Penedes is a one-hour drive or train ride towards the Spanish Metropolis.
Though the region produces a wide array of sparkling wines, it is best known for Cava, which is manufactured from a combination of macabeu, parellada, and xarel-lo grapes. While at the region, ensure that you visit the Cavas Codorniu, which houses the oldest sparkling wine-making family business, which has been in business for over 450 years.
Vienna, Austria’s capital, boasts of stunning architecture and a hub of art, coffee culture, and music. That aside, great wine is another lesser-known yet overly enticing reason to travel to Vienna. The capital boasts of more than 1700 acres of plantation within the limits of the city, with 85 percent dedicated to white wine varieties, particularly Gruner Veltliner, Sauvignon Blanc, and Riesling.
That said, consider visiting the city during autumn to join the annual Wine Hiking Day. During this event, participants cover more than 15 miles of vineyards, sampling various delicacies and wine pairings. The expansive views and dotted palaces along the routes provide an excellent picturesque backdrop for photography lovers.
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If you are a music and wine lover, touring Languedoc-Roussillon should be on your bucket list. The region stretches from Rhone Valley to the Spanish border with more than 300,000 hectares of vineyards, making it the largest wine-producing region in France. Just to mention, it is estimated that at least one in every ten wine bottles during the 20th century originated from this region.
What attracts most visitors is the annual Jazz Hospitalet festival organized by Gerard Bertrand, a renowned winemaker. The event is hosted at the 38-bedroom wine estate and takes up to five days every summer. The event isn’t the only reason you should visit this destination. Close to Bertrand’s estate is the Corbieres AOC, which has five wine routes with several wineries that focus on manufacturing biodynamic and organic viticulture.
Common red wine varieties produced in this region include Merlot, Grenache Noir, Mourvedre, and Syrah. On the other hand, white varieties include Chenin Blanc, Piquepoul, Roussanne, Sauvignon Blanc, and Grenache Blanc.
Being the fifth most visited destination with more than 60 million annual tourists, there is a lot to explore in Italy. Amidst various undiscovered gems, Campania is a spot that deserves great recognition. Located close to Italy’s boot, the town is home to Mount Vesuvius, Amalfi Coasts, Pompeii Ruins, and the popular Naples.
Campania specializes in manufacturing wine from local grape varieties, such as Aglianico, Greco, Falanghina, and Fiano. With the manufacturing hub located approximately 50 miles from Naples, you can base your travels on this ancient city and opt for daily trips to the wineries.
Alternatively, you can consider staying within the heart of vineyards around the towns of Taurasi and Avellino. Consider touring this region early in the autumn or late spring to avoid large summer crowds.
Cape Winelands, South Africa
With the introduction of daily flights from New York to Cape Town, you can easily access these prestigious Winelands in South Africa. A trip from Cape Town to the Winelands takes approximately 50 minutes. The easily available shuttle services make daily trips a very viable option, especially if you want to explore the city’s opulent accommodations.
There are several reasons to visit this region, especially if it is your first time in the region. For instance, expect some Pinotage, South Africa’s signature red wine variety, and improved Chenin Blancs brands in the Winelands. You also get to learn the diverse Methode Cap Classique used in the manufacture of champagne varieties.
The main historic winemaking areas around the region are Constantia and Stellenbosch. These vineyards have an eclectic mix of classic and century Dutch buildings and modern, funky buildings. Other small but developing wine regions within Cape Winelands include Bot River, Swartland, Klein Karoo, Plettenberg Bay, Breedekloof, and Robertson Wine Valley.
Finger Lakes, New York
Another great destination to sample some wine is the Finger Lakes region of New York, where wine manufacturers craft high-quality wine varieties using pinot noir, Riesling, and chardonnay grapes. The region is approximately a 5-hour drive, thus can be explored best by car, especially if you are traveling from Manhattan. Winemakers use both ancestral and traditional manufacturing methods.
Exploring this unbeaten path opens up to great vineyards, unparalleled scenic views surrounded by three lakes, and mouth-watering food scenes. Winemakers to visit include the iconic Dr. Konstantin Frank, Ravines Wine Cellars, Lamoreaux Landing Wine Cellars, Sheldrake Point Winery, and Hermann J. Wiemer.
Plan your tour for summer when temperatures are perfect for outdoor excursions or during early fall when the flower colors are picturesque. The winter seasons are extremely cold to enjoy the visit. Apart from visiting vineyards and drinking wine, take some time to visit the Women’s Rights National Park, which is the birthplace of women’s rights associations, and explore other scenic natural landmarks in the region, including the 19 waterfalls and endless hiking trails.
While you can simply order your favorite bottle of sparkling wine and enjoy it at home, visiting its origin is a privilege that wine connoisseurs truly understand. As you plan your trip, consider one of the amazing bubbly regions.