Advertisements
 

A Good Time to Plan a Wine Tour in the Euro Zone

June 14, 2010

It’s high time to plan that wine tour, and also high time that we gave you an update on what’s happening on our main Wine Travel Guides website. With the Euro sliding against the US dollar and to an extent against the UK pound  as well as several other currencies, travel in France, Italy, Spain and the rest of the Euro zone is suddenly less expensive than it was a few months ago.

Châteauneuf du Pape pebbles

Vines in the famous pebbles of Châteauneuf du Pape ©Mick Rock/Cephas

Our biggest news is the recent launch of tailor-made wine tour itineraries aimed at those who are time poor and in need of an extra helping hand with planning a few days or more in the wine regions. The itineraries are based on the information in our on-line travel guides, but are truly tailor-made after we’ve emailed and/or called you to discuss what help you need to make the most of your wine tour. We provide an Excel spreadsheet including distances, timings and map links along with a Word document highlighting how best to secure appointments and get the most out of each day.

Patrimonio in Corsica from Cephas

Patrimonio in Northern Corsica ©Mick Rock/Cephas

Corsica to complete our French Wine Region coverage
Our 50 on-line travel guides are soon to become 52. We already boast that our guides cover all the major French wine regions, but one region has not yet been included… and that’s off-shore, namely Corsica. I’m really excited to share with you that Tom Fiorina of The Vine Route, who has been visiting the island for many years, is currently writing two guides to address this gap and they should be live sometime next month – personally I can’t wait to visit Corsica as their wines are improving dramatically, in keeping with the dramatic landscape.

Media Recognition for Wine Travel Guides
Back in April, we were selected by the UK’s Daily Mail as Website of the Week; we were also mentioned in an article on best new travel technology in the UK Telegraph’s Travel section and appeared in several regional papers, notably by wine writer Liz Sagues in the Ham & High covering North-West London. Importantly, we’ve received some lovely comments from users of our guides and the new tailor-made itinerary service too.

Kaysersberg in Alsace

Kaysersberg in Alsace ©Mick Rock/Cephas

Keeping the on-line information accurate
The huge advantage of on-line guides is the ability to keep information up-to-date relatively simply, though I confess it’s time-consuming with 50 guides equating to over 1,500 recommendations (wineries to visit, places to stay, eat and shop plus attractions) and 400,000 words when you add in the general wine and tourism information. If you spot any errors in our guides, please do let us know.

The good news is that two-thirds of our micro-region guides have been updated in the past 6 months and we try to update each guide thoroughly every 12 – 16 months. The ‘last updated’ date you see on each of our guides relates to the last time we did a thorough update adding several new or replacement recommendations. By the way, at least one well-known guide book series I know that’s available to access on-line is an exact replica of the books, so no more up-to-date than the printed guide books are.

Saint Emilion

The town of St-Emilion ©Mick Rock/Cephas

Other Interesting Travel Planning Resources
Earlier this year NileGuide licensed some of our content as part of their travel planning resources they are building to help you plan your travels worldwide. Do take a look at their website: they have a tool to create your own travel guides which could be useful to link up your wine tours with the other destinations on your holiday itinerary.

Recently I became a Tripbod, one of a team of over 100 local experts who advise travellers through calls and emails on their forthcoming trips. Sometimes, an on-line travel guide or a guide book is simply not enough; on the other hand, our itinerary planning service may be too in depth for you. If you simply want some help with a few ideas of where to visit in the world of wine, especially France, or even some help in my part-time home area in the French Alps, then take a look at Tripbod. Direct access to a person with the inside track can be invaluable.

Vineyards near Cahors

Sunset near Cahors ©Mick Rock/Cephas

Following us on Facebook, Twitter and here on the Blog
Our Facebook Page is gaining a great following which encourages me to update it with interesting links and thoughts. Currently we are highlighting the Facebook pages of wineries listed in our guides in order to give them some support – it’s interesting how some of the most traditional European wineries are responding to the social media opportunity. On Twitter, I tweet about all things wine and travel, with plenty of links to interesting articles in these two related worlds. The next few posts we have planned for the Wine Travel Guides blog are from beyond the scope of our Guides …. out of Europe for once! I look forward to hearing your comments and thank you so much for following.

All the pictures in this post were taken by one of the world’s great wine landscape photographers, Mick Rock, who owns Cephas picture library, one of the major sources for high quality photos of wine, food and travel.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine

Advertisements

News! All Wine Tour Content Now Free to View

October 30, 2009

We’ve made some major changes on the Wine Travel Guides website, which will benefit anyone planning a wine tour in France, Tuscany or Rioja and other regions we will add next year. All the contents of our 50 micro-region travel guides to wine regions can now be viewed free on the website.

There’s no catch here, but anyone who would like the convenience of downloading the guides as PDFs to plan their wine trip off-line and print pages as required, can purchase the guides at a very reasonable price of £5 (approximately US$8.50 or €5.50) with discounts for multiple guide purchases. A sample PDF guide can be downloaded on registration; for those of you who have already registered, do log in and take a look as we’ve changed the sample to the Southern Graves and Sauternes guide by Jane Anson.

We have also converted our former Gold Subscription to Gold Membership, which allows any of our guides to be downloaded for a full 12 months (meaning you get the latest, updated guide) including any we add in the future. The price has been reduced too – Gold Membership costs just £29 (approximately US$49 or €32). A package of member benefits is also planned, and these should include discounts on other valuable wine and travel related information.

In case you are not familiar with the content on our Guides, our micro-region guides are bite-sized chunks of major wine regions, for example, we have 8 guides to Bordeaux; 5 to the Rhône Valley; 2 to Tuscany (covering only central areas at present) and so on. Each guide (about 10 – 20 pages in PDF form) includes 8 – 12 recommended wine producers to visit; a few places to stay (ranging from top hotels to friendly Bed and Breakfasts); restaurants, shops and attractions, plus a useful aide-memoir of the regional wines including appellations, grape varieties and wine styles. A wealth of information in a small package.

Most importantly of all, our guides are written by a selection of top wine and travel writers, selected because they have the inside track on their regions – some you’ve already seen on this blog, others are also top-class, including three Masters of Wine and several published book authors. We also make a point of updating our guides regularly, once a year at a minimum with tweaks during the year as necessary.

There are no other travel guides to these wine regions which are as authoritative or comprehensive as ours available anywhere else on the web, so please visit the site and tell the rest of the world about our existence. The main idea of these changes is to open up our content to many more independent travellers who love wine. Increased visibility – and let’s be honest about it, revenue – will allow us to expand our guides to other countries and regions in the future.

Thank you for reading this blatant sales blog post.  I felt that it needed to be spelt out as going from 60 pages to over 1500 pages of quality content is pretty big news for a website! I hope you agree and look forward to your reactions to the changes. I promise you that interesting wine and travel posts will resume soon!

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine


A wine tasting and a long lunch in the middle of France

August 18, 2009

By Wink Lorch

Red Menetou Salon bottleTesting out the insider expert advice on Wine Travel Guides is definitely one of the perks of my job. As a wine educator, I used to advise my students that by choosing top producers from lesser-known wine appellations, they would find better value than choosing a nobody from the well-known appellations. It’s no different with a wine tour, so when we wanted a stop en route to visit my sister south of Tours, we checked out Jim Budd’s guide to the Central Vineyards of the Loire and planned our Saturday.

We’d both already visited Sancerre and Pouilly-sur-Loire (home to Pouilly Fumé and arguably one of the most boring ‘famous wine villages’ in France!), so we decided on a short visit to one of the more obscure Central Vineyards appellations: Menetou-Salon, Quincy or Reuilly. We selected Menetou-Salon for the simple reason that we could link up a visit and tasting at a family-owned domaine with lunch at an interesting-sounding restaurant.

Pierre Jacolin of Le Prieuré de Saint Céols was initially reserved and somewhat preoccupied as during Saturday afternoon and Sunday that first weekend of August, the Menetou-Salon producers were holding ‘Caves Ouvertes’ (Open Cellars), meaning that for once, visitors are welcomed for tastings without needing appointments and often side-events are laid on. The only wine estate in the village of Saint Céols, set in an large old Benedictine priory linked to the famous Cluny monastery, the Jacolins had invited several local artisans to display and sell their crafts, arts and foods. Last minute preparations under the supervision of Pierre’s wife Christine were underway while we were tasting. As so often happens when tasting wines with a producer, as soon as he realized from our questions that we were genuinely interested, Pierre gave us plenty of information along with the wines to taste.

Domaine Jacolin in Menetou-Salon

The Jacolins' house in St-Céols © Brett Jones

The Jacolin range consists of two whites (Sauvignon Blanc), a rosé and two reds from Pinot Noir. As everywhere in the Loire’s Central Vineyards area, the whites made up the majority production from the domaine at around 70%. The slightly more expensive wine named Cuvée des Bénédictins was aged for longer on the yeast lees and bottled later giving a much deeper flavour and ageing potential than the ‘basic’ fresh and zippy white. Both the rosé and the two reds (the better one again named Cuvée des Bénédictins and this time, spending time in oak barrels) had longer maceration on the skins than most producers in the area give their Pinots. This gave more structured wines calling out loudly for food. After tasting a few older vintages, which impressed us greatly, we were offered a taste of a very different kind of drink – a Crème de Cassis made from blackcurrants grown on their family farm, and Pierre urged us to taste it neat, without adding any white wine to make a Kir. It was absolutely the most concentrated blackcurrant flavour I’d ever encountered and I could imagine it would be delicious over vanilla ice cream – we bought a bottle to try another day.

C'heu l'Zib Restaurant in Menetou-Salon ©Brett Jones

C'heu l'Zib, Menetou-Salon ©Brett Jones

As always, tasting made me hungry, so I was ready for lunch when we arrived at the restaurant C’heu l’Zib (Chez l’Zib) in the middle of the nearby village of Menetou-Salon. Apart from the food itself, the whole experience at Chez l’Zib (C’heu is the dialect word) reminded me of eating in the Italian countryside, though I suspect that decades ago there may have been more restaurants like this in France too. The warm, rustic interior is full of wood (including the trestle-like tables and rather uncomfortable school-like chairs), with decorations hanging from the ceiling and every piece of wall or beam, an open fire for winter and a bar in the corner. There is a cosy family atmosphere with strangers often sharing tables. Although a menu of sorts is displayed outside, there is no menu handed to you and you are expected to eat the menu of the day, which will include some choices. From most tables, you can see into the busy kitchen at the end where several women of all ages and one lone man bustled away. The restaurant was full this Saturday lunchtime with a mixture of locals and (French) tourists in the know.

Everything about the food is homely, simple, seasonal, regional and delicious. I started with half a melon (served completely plain) and Brett had perfect, rustic pork terrine. He followed with a classic of the restaurant, locally caught pike served simply in a typical beurre blanc (cream, butter and wine) sauce. I had tow magnificent slices of veal shin cooked in wine. Carrots in butter and simple roasted potatoes were served on the side. After, a big bowl of green salad and a cheese plate including several of the local goats’ cheeses were passed from table to table and replenished as needed. Dessert focussed on slices (however big you wanted) of a rich chocolate charlotte and there was a bowl of stewed plumss and another of marinated grapes. Phew! I feel full just writing this and to think that one option was to choose both the fish course and the meat course! The wine choice is even simpler: red or white, Menetou-Salon of course, from whatever producer they have around. You can have a bottle, a half-bottle or a glass …

Menetou Salon bottle sculpture © Jim Budd

Bottle sculpture in Menetou-Salon © Jim Budd

Our meal for two with a half a bottle of white and a glass of red plus a couple of coffees came to just 78 Euros. We had a slow walk around the village, inspected some badly hail-damaged vines (sadly 2009, the year in which the appellation celebrates its 50th birthday, commemorated by a bottle sculpture, has not been kind to Menetou-Salon) and then ambled off to the local woods for a siesta. Thanks to Jim Budd for recommending these gems in one of his five Loire guides.

By the way, in case you’ve not yet noticed, Wine Travel Guides is currently offering subscriptions at half price – only till August 26th. That makes the Gold subscription with access to 50 guides only £24.50 (approximately $42 or €30).

C’heu L’Zib, 2 Route des Aix d’Angillon, 18510 Menetou Salon
Tel: +33 (0)2 48 64 81 20 (No email, no website).
Open lunchtimes except Wednesdays. Dinner by reservation only except Wednesdays and Sundays.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine


Drinking but not Driving with Ferrari

June 10, 2009

By Wink Lorch with photos by Brett Jones
Ferrari bottles for blog

On our recent wine tour in Trentino in north-east Italy we had the chance to visit the cellars of the famous Metodo Classico sparkling wine producer Ferrari. After a cellar tour and a rather special tasting of their wines, we were given not only a guided tour of an extraordinary 16th century villa owned by the Lunelli family, owners of Ferrari spumante, but also the chance to eat at their fine dining restaurant in the hills. Certainly we felt like we were in the fast lane of life in Italy.

Giulio Ferrari for blogFerrari spumante was founded in the city of Trento by Giulio Ferrari in 1902. His family owned vineyards and he had been trained in wine production at the local prestigious San Michele all’Adige agricultural school and later in Montpellier, France and Geisenheim, Germany. He also spent some time in Epernay, Champagne and thought that Chardonnay would be ideal to grow on the high altitude limestone hills of his home area in Trentino, so he smuggled in some vines.

From the start Giulio Ferrari aimed to make high quality spumante using the Champagne method, today known in Italy as Metodo Classico. Until the 1950s production remained highly limited (less than 10,000 bottles a year) and much in demand all over Italy, but with no successors Giulio finally sold the company to Bruno Lunelli, who ran a successful wine shop in Trento and had long been an admirer of Ferrari Spumante. Giulio continued to work in the firm until his death in 1965 aged 86. The biggest change Bruno Lunelli made was to increase production to create a viable business and the company has never looked back. Today Ferrari spumante remains owned and run by the Lunelli family and produces nearly 5 million bottles of Metodo Classico sparkling wine.

Ferrari Pop bottle for blogThe current offices and three hectares of cellars are on the outskirts of Trento and are open to visitors. The reception area is quite sumptuous with a wonderful display of pop art-decorated Ferrari bottles and a shop where you can buy period posters and other related artefacts as well as the wines of course. If you’ve never visited a Champagne house then the visit through the cellars is well worth it – it’s usually available with an English guide if you are prepared to wait a little while, though always better to make an appointment.

All the sparkling wines under the Ferrari label are Trentodoc – the name developed for Metodo Classico wines from the Trento D.O.C. and Chardonnay is the dominant grape variety. We tasted their excellent non-vintage 100% Chardonnay Maximum Brut which has three years on yeast before disgorgement alongside its rosé partner from a blend of 70% Pinot Noir base wine made as rosé with 30% Chardonnay. Both had lovely freshness and delicacy with the rosé ideal for food as was proved later that day. The Perlé vintage 2004 (again 100% Chardonnay) was a tremendous wine with elegance joined by roundness and real length. As we were part of a group of British wine educators, we were honoured to be given a taste of the latest vintage of their single vineyard Giulio Ferrari Riserva del Fondatore 1999 produced in very small quantities only in good years: it was mature, spicy and sumptuous – and has been described as “one of the four wines that have changed the story of Italian wines.”

Villa Margon for Ferrari blogJoining us to taste the Giulio Ferrari was Franco Lunelli, one of Bruno’s sons. Marcello Lunelli the oenologist commented “my uncle always turns up when we open this wine”, but Signor Franco Lunelli, now in his 70s worked hard for his share. He was our knowledgeable guide around the extraordinary Villa Margon owned by the family and set in parkland in the hills a few kilometres above the winery. The situation and the collection of buildings including an 18th century chapel are simply beautiful in themselves, but it is the actual villa and the art that it contains that is the highlight of a visit here. It was built in 1540 by the Basso family, who had purchased the land from the Bishop of Trento. The villa became a summer retreat for prestigious guests travelling through Europe, including cardinals and other church dignitaries, and it is believed that Emperor Charles V was a guest too.

Villa Margon Frescos for Ferrari blogBetween 1540 and 1560 artists were invited to the villa from Belgium and from Venice to paint frescoes on the walls and these have never been restored. All the rooms of the villa are adorned with these allegorical and historical frescoes, which remain in amazingly perfect condition with colours so bright that experts continue to debate what materials must have been used to paint them nearly 500 years ago. The frescoes in one room illustrate the battles in which Charles V was involved; in another they are devoted to bible stories from the Old Testament and a further room has stories from the New Testament. My favourite room had 12 frescoes each representing the typical activities occurring in one month of the year. At least three were wine related with March showing the pruning, August preparing the barrels for the new harvest and September illustrating the harvest itself. Two months that amused me were January showing the men playing cards whilst the women work in the kitchen and December which was the shopping month – prospecting for wood amongst other purchases. For further insight, check out this recent visitor’s blog post.

Close by on another side of the hill the Lunelli family have opened a restaurant Locanda Margon, which now has one Michelin star. In a beautiful setting above the Adige valley, but only a few kilometres from Trento, it would make a fantastic summer evening’s excursion and the food we experienced was high class country food, beautifully served.

Over lunch, Matteo Lunelli, another family member working in the company explained something that had intrigued me, namely whether there was any relationship between Cantine Ferrari spumante and Ferrari Maranello, the car company. Matteo told us that that Ferrari was, along with Rossi, one of the most common names in Italy – the equivalent of Smith or Jones, so it was crucial for both companies to protect the use of the name commercially. The two companies are good friends and Matteo explained that they were “two expressions of luxury lifestyle”. Some years ago they came to an agreement giving Cantine Ferrari the exclusivity of the name for the world of drinks while Ferrari Maranello has the exclusivity for all other products. When Ferrari wins at a Grand Prix race, the team always celebrate with Ferrari spumante.

Ferrari Office for blogA perfect wine tour day should include all these things: interesting cellar visit, great wines, a superb meal, good views and some sort of cultural experience. Thanks to Ferrari you can get these all, close to a major city too.

Contact Ferrari via their website to arrange a visit to the cellar or to Villa Margon. Villa Margon is open to the public on Wednesdays and Saturdays, plus a few special opening days.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to Ma.gnoliaAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine


Group Wine Tour vs Private Wine Tour: Pros and Cons

May 20, 2009

There are many differences between participating in a group wine tour and organising your own private wine tour whether you are a professional in the wine business or simply a wine lover. Recently I’ve had a few occasions to ponder on the pros and cons of the group wine tour versus your own private wine tour (by which I mean a tour for just yourself and partner/friends, say, up to 4 people without any professional guide for the trip) so here are some thoughts to share with you.

Note that the points below apply mainly to the choice for wine lovers rather than professionals though many apply to the latter too. I have presumed that this concerns a wine trip with a reputable wine tour specialist. Also, I should say that my thoughts apply particularly to trips in Europe and are not necessarily geared to buying wine. Please do add comments to this debate.

Group wine tour 2 - blogGroup Tours – The Pluses
• No advanced planning – just book and go.
• Someone to drive you around.
• Someone who speaks the local language and can interpret.
• Possibility of visiting certain difficult-to-visit wine producers who only accept visitors on a strict appointment and limited basis.
• Possibility of tasting older vintages or special wines that aren’t opened for individual visitors.
• The price is fixed in advance, often an all-in price.

Group Tours – The Minuses
• An enforced group situation possibly with strangers!
• Usually impossible to adapt or change the itinerary.
• Often slower visits, meals etc as there is a need to cater for everyone.
• Bus travel – not everyone enjoys this.
• Difficult to have access to speak directly with winery owners/winemakers.
• Often impossible to choose where and what you eat.
• Expense of the tour due to organisation/guide/transport.

Private Wine Tour - blogPrivate Tours – The Pluses
• Free to plan your own itinerary, often at the last minute.
• Complete freedom to adapt part way through.
• Travel at your own pace in your chosen form of transport.
• Travel with the people you know and like!
• Visit small wine producers that can’t accept groups.
• Can often chat directly with winery owners and winemakers.
• Eat in small restaurants that don’t take groups.
• Work to your own budget – choose whether to spend more on food or accommodation.

Private Tours – The Minuses
• Usually requires a lot of planning (but many enjoy this part!)
• One person nearly always has to drive a car.
• Can’t necessarily get access to visit very famous wine producers.
• Possible language issues if you don’t know a word of the language concerned and are not very confident.
• Budget is not so easy to control.

A few weeks ago I was a guest on the weekly wine podcast the New Wine Consumer where we debated this very subject – you might want to listen. The consensus was that private wine tours win in most cases providing that you have a willing driver (someone prepared to be rigorous at spitting out the tasting wines or abstain) and that you are confident enough to tackle just a few words of the local language of your chosen destination, however basic. With reference to the wine regions of France, we also talked about whether or not you need appointments to visit, something we note for all the wine producers recommended in Wine Travel Guides.

I look forward to your thoughts in the comments. Happy wine travels!

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to Ma.gnoliaAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine


New ‘Lightning Cruise’ explores the wine rivers of France

April 1, 2009

Wine Travel Guides announces sponsorship of the wine tour to end all wine tours, which will take place in April 2010. This will be your chance to experience the great wine regions of France cruising along the historic waterways of France. The 10-day exclusive Lightning Cruise will see you supping some of the finest wines of the world on the luxury SS Dom Pérignon in the company of some prize-winning British Masters of Wine.

Your cruise through the wine rivers of France

Your cruise through the wine rivers of France

Great wine has always been produced close to rivers and wine used to be transported along the waterways to its traditional customers, the royal courts of Europe. Now wine geeks can follow wine’s journey on our specially designed cruise ship, which will transport you along rivers that have been made navigable exclusively for us as one of the new French Ministry of Wine Tourism’s initiatives.

Meet the ship in Nantes (RyanAir will fly you in from an outlying airport in London – don’t forget to pay the extra for proper life-jackets – NOT included in our price). Then we cruise up the Loire river, with a side visit along the Layon tributary. Here we will examine botrytis spores with a Master of Wine winner of the technical detail prize – 5cl tastes of the famous dessert Grand Crus Bonnezeaux and Quarts de Chaume will be available (or half bottles of Coteaux de l’Aubance for non-wine-reverent spouses).

After a demi-tour back to the Loire we cruise on through Tours and Orléans, then turn northwards along a linking canal to the Seine for a stop in Paris for a firework display by the Bastille (we hope for an appearance from top French wine journalists who’ve been interred for failing to display a health warning on their articles).

Trees grown on Dom Pérignon's burial ground were used for ship

Trees used to build the cruise ship were grown on Dom Pérignon's burial ground above Champagne vineyards by the Marne River

Next we join the Marne river to visit the original shipyard near Epernay, where the SS Dom Pérignon was built from trees grown on the Montagne de Reims. We plan a lively debating evening whilst there about whether Merrett of England or Dom Pérignon himself actually invented Champagne – leader of the debate here will be a winner of the Master of Wine’s Bollinger Prize. (A Karaoke alternative may be made available to non-wine-bore spouses).

From the Marne we spit onto the stately Saône River that runs through parts of Burgundy. Here, choose from side visits either to Jurassic Park home to Vin Jaune with owner of Wine Travel Guides, or to examine pruning at the exclusive Clos de Tart with one of our increasingly common lady Masters of Wine.

Ever southwards towards the great Rhône river we make a stop first in the Beaujolais vineyards for another evening debate: “Beaujolais – Vin de Merde ou pas Vin de Merde?. This will be led by a Master of Wine founder of the Beaujolais Nouveau race – and bets will be taken on the result of the debate – it’s sure to be a fun evening (we will taste samples of the ten Beaujolais cruises during the debate).

Following a gastronomic extravaganza in Lyon with one of our larger-than-life Masters of Wines, our cruise ship will head down the Rhône to Marseille stopping to collect pebbles from the vineyards of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. (You will receive a full explanation from a newly pontificated Master of Wine of why, in a bid to reduce ever-increasing alcohol levels, the pebbles need to be removed – first-hand evidence of global warming effects).

A little over half-way through our cruise near Marseille, our luxury ship will slip from the Rhône estuary into the Mediterranean for some sea breezes. We will tie up for the evening to allow those who wish, to visit the night clubs of Marseille, whilst others enjoy a guided, comparative tasting of the organoleptic effects of sea breezes on the wine tasting palate.

Into calming waters, we cruise into the famous Canal du Midi, sailing speedily past and ignoring the huge Languedoc vineyards through Béziers and Carcassonne towards the final important wine destination of our Lightning Cruise – Bordeaux.

Jancis Robinson

Jancis Robinson

Slowing down to appreciate the vineyards close to the Garonne River, with a detour to explore the Ciron, another nobly rotted tributary, we sail majestically into Bordeaux to meet our mega famous Master of Wine Jancis Robinson for a tutored tasting on the theme of “Why a Bordeaux Château is a Fool’s Domaine”.

At the end of our cruise, you will have ticked off the Loire, Paris, Champagne, Burgundy, Jura, Rhône, Provence, Languedoc, South-West and Bordeaux from your wine touring wish list and there will be only Alsace and Savoie to go if you want in future to say you’ve ‘done French wine regions’ – all thanks to the Wine Travel Guides Lightning Cruise.

Our luxury cruise ship © Sven Reinecke - Fotolia.com

Luxury cruise ship SS Dom Pérignon ©Sven Reinecke - Fotolia.com

Other cruises run by the Cruising Rivers and Canals Company (CRAC) include The Bonus Cruise: Explore the great Banking Capitals by river and lake (Geneva/Zurich) hosted by Top Investment Bankers; and The Motor Cruise: Visit Europe’s finest Car Manufacturers along the Rhine and its tributaries hosted by recently retired Formula 1 Drivers.

Dates for the Lightning Cruise sponsored by Wine Travel Guides will be April 1st – 10th 2010. Prices start at £10,410/$10,410/€10,410. Places are limited to 10,410 people, so please contact us fast to make your reservations.

For other interesting wine stories published on 1st April 2009 do check out the Dregs Report.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to Ma.gnoliaAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine


Special wine tour to be launched on Dregs Report

March 28, 2009

dregsbutton2On Wednesday 1st April Wine Travel Guides will be announcing a very special, unique, luxury wine tour opportunity in France. The announcement will appear here and will be linked to from the fabulous Dregs Report site.

Do come back and take a look. I’ll be joining a very important group of wine bloggers in contributing to an April 1st day of wine fun – naturally, it’s wine and travel that will be the theme.

Join us in putting the ridiculous back into wine touring. Check back on April 1st. LOL.


%d bloggers like this: