5 of the best countries to visit for wine lovers

23rd Jan 18 | Lifestyle

Wine themed holidays tailored to suit your taste.

Wooden wine tour sign with arrow with green shrubs

We’re familiar with destination spas and weaving the world onto our plate, so why not drink in an adventure and visit a famous wine region on your next trip?

And whether you like to start with a white, red or fizz, here Expedia recommends five destinations for wine loving travellers.

You may need to do a bit of research to see which wineries are open to the public, but it’s worth it to find a wine shop or tasting room where you can sample rare bottles or interesting examples, before venturing into the vineyard.

1. If you love chardonnay, go to… Chile

Chile's name on wine corks
(Thinkstock/PA)

Chilean wines may be cheaper than those from France, but they don’t sacrifice on flavour and are much more complex than you may expect.

If you enjoy New World chardonnay, Chile’s is similar to Californian chardonnay with tropical fruit flavours, but has an added burst of acidity and layer of spice thanks to its Pacific coastline and cool ocean breezes.

Named by Expedia as one of the best wine destinations in the world, Chile is home to the Curico Valley, where you’ll find some of the finest estates in the world. Also think about heading to the Limari Valley – almost 300 miles north of Santiago, it’s one of the country’s most exciting wine regions and chardonnay, its star grape.

2.  If you love sparkling wine, go to… France

Champagne sign, France
(Thinkstock/PA)

Where else? The wine of kings, the Champagne region in northern France with its unique terroir (soil and climate) produces sparkling wine with exceptional flavour. Of course, only bubbles produced in Champagne can actually be called champagne, so it has to be on your bucket list.

One of the most popular wine regions in the world, the irony is not many of the famous champagne houses are open to the public. So swat up on the best ones to visit and then head to wine shops and restaurants in Reims, where you’ll find a range of small-grower champagnes and limited editions you never knew existed.

3. If you love malbec, go to… Argentina

Map of Argentina
(Thinkstock/PA)

Lush, ripe malbec is actually a grape from France, but its reputation as a great wine is largely credited to Argentina’s wine producers. The country has been cultivating malbec since the 1860s, and it’s one of the few places where ancient malbec vines still exist – Argentina escaped the wrath of phylloxera, a root disease that destroyed many European vineyards.

Mendoza produces the vast majority of grapes, with vineyards covering many thousands of acres. The Central Region is a good place to start — known as the ‘Land of Malbec,’ south of Mendoza City.

Estates to visit include Algodon, which produces world class wines and specialises in malbec, along with bonarda – widely tipped to be Argentina’s next big thing.

4.  If you love cabernet sauvignon, go to… the US

Vineyards, Napa Valley
(Flickr Mat79/PA)

Almost all wine-growing countries produce cabernet sauvignon, but it’s in America where it’s truly special. In France, vineyards often blend cabernet with merlot, but not in the US; here it’s left entirely on its own, so expect a suitably full-bodied flavour.

Home to fantastic wine regions, the best for cab sav is California’s famed and glorious Napa Valley where the sun shines down in full force, ripening grapes so they produce a fantastic flavour.

Top picks to visit are  HALL St. Helena, where wine meets art, and Corison Winery, one of the best cabernet producers in all of Napa.

5. If you love pinot noir go to… England

Bolney pinot noir bottle with glass
(Bolney Wine Estate/PA)

Yes you’ve read that correctly, England! English wine production might be small in comparison to some of the big players, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth consideration.

While some wine aficionados turn their nose up at a glass of English red, its reputation has soared in recent years and pinot noir is one of the country’s most successful grapes. Take a trip to Bolney Wine Estate in West Sussex, home to award-winning red, white and sparkling wines.

© Press Association 2018

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