Wanderlust. We must all have it after staying in our homes for the past two years due to COVID. Maybe venturing out to a nearby city or town within a day’s driving distance, but not getting on an airplane and going where your heart desires. I love wine, and I enjoy going to wine regions around the world, meeting winemakers at their wineries, tasting wines with them and walking through the vines, feeling the sunshine’s warmth, and checking out the soil and vegetation growing beneath the vines. It helps me understand the wines better and then I can give you a better explanation of those wines.
Where do my mind and itchy feet want to go once it is safer to travel abroad? These are wine regions that I have not yet traveled to, but are on my bucket list.
MyWinePal’s Wine Destination Bucket List
This was the trip I planned to take in January 2021. There is so much to see in New Zealand covering both the warmer North Island and cooler South Island. I love Pinot Noir so definitely the South Island, and Central Otago in particular would be one of my stops. Marlborough is the region that kicked off New Zealand’s success in winemaking, with Sauvignon Blanc being its trademark. There would be several wineries for me to visit there. On the North Island, Hawke’s Bay would be on the top of my list. This warmer region is where you can find exciting Syrahs and Chardonnays, as well as fuller-bodied Pinot Noir wines. Just like BC, there is plenty of seafood to enjoy with wine. I would take full advantage, plus I’ve been told there are more sheep than people. Grilled lamb chops and Pinot Noir or a Syrah together would be a treat.
South Africa stands half in the Old World and New World for winemaking. Their wines are exceptionally food-friendly. Chenin Blanc and Pinotage are signature grapes for this wine country, but also other red Bordeaux varietals. Stellenbosch is the largest area and definitely on the list. A warmer region where you get the bigger red wines, but also quality Chenin Blanc, as demonstrated by Ken Forrester Wines. I am also intrigued to see, smell, and feel the native fynbos plants of South Africa. Several times I read that you can smell fynbos in a South African wine. Fynbos is a unique kind of vegetation that makes up 80% of the Cape Floral Kingdom, two-thirds of which are found only in the Cape. The Cape, in particular Cape Constantia, is where vine growing in 1655 and wine production started in South Africa in 1659. There is a Constantia Wine Route to explore. Besides Stellenbosch and Constantia, I would also like to visit Franschhoek. Franschhoek is the Dutch word for “French Corner”. In 1688, French Huguenot refugees began populating the valley establishing farms and businesses bringing with them their experience in agriculture (Wikipedia). Many of South Africa’s sparkling wines, Cap Classique, come from here. The region is known as South Africa’s Food and Wine Capital. I would enjoy a South African bbq, known as a braii, along with the wide range of wines from South Africa.
Italy – Veneto
Veneto is a region in northeastern Italy that has it all. They produce Valpolicella wines as well as Prosecco! Valpolicella wines are very accessible to enjoy. No need to age them for many years. You can start a meal with some prosecco, then work your way through the meal with a Valpolicella Ripasso or an Amarone. There are several tiers of Valpolicella wines from light to full-bodied. There is a red wine for everyone to enjoy. This region touches both the Adriatic Sea and inland towards hills and mountains. So you get a wide variety of dishes to enjoy from seafood to risotto, hearty stews, and Grana Padano cheese! This really is a place for a food and wine lover.
Portugal – Porto
Portugal has many indigenous grape varieties that make fantastic red table wines, as well as go into make Port wine. The top five grapes for Port production are Tinta Barroca, Tinto Cão, Tinta Roriz, Touriga Francesa, and Touriga Nacional. I would enjoy visiting the cellars of Taylor Fladgate, Sandeman, and much more. Such history. Porto being a port city, I’d enjoy sitting at a restaurant overlooking the ocean and beach and tasting the fine seafood and petiscos (tapas).
France – Bordeaux
With so many well-known and highly-regarded Chateaus in Bordeaux, who wouldn’t want to visit? Most people would go for the red wines, but there are also white Bordeaux blends and sweet Sauternes wines to enjoy in Bordeaux. To think that this region was once a marsh, but thanks to engineers, the area was drained and vineyards were planted. The varieties to plant and which variety works best on which side of the Dordogne River. Cabernet Sauvignon on the Left Bank and Merlot on the Right Bank was finally realized as the best grapes to grow. There is now the Bordeaux Cite du Vin museum you can learn about all aspects of winemaking, wine history in the region, geography, food, and much more.
So these are the wine regions I would love to travel to. Do you have a wine region you would love to go to or a region you have been to and want to go again? Let me know in the comments section below.