Part Two: International locations, great wine and spectacular scenery.
21 September, 2017
Central Otago, New Zealand
The road from Queenstown into the mountains towards Wanaka links the Otago vineyards and provides great cellar doors in dazzling scenery. New Zealand’s fastest-growing wine region is most impressive for Pinot Noir, but mainstream white varietals flourish too. Follow brown tourist signs to the cellar door of copper-roofed, Italianate Amisfield Estate with its panorama of lake and snow peaks, then continue to early pioneer Gibbston Valley and others such as Peregrine Wines and top label Felton Road Vineyard. Rippon Vineyard near Wanaka has interesting German varietals and inspiring views over the Buchanan Mountains.
"New Zealand’s fastest-growing wine region is most impressive for Pinot Noir, but mainstream white varietals flourish too."
"An hour from Vienna lies a gracious bend of the Danube flanked by the old towns, ruined castles and vineyards of the Wachau region."
Wachau Valley, Austria
An hour from Vienna lies a gracious bend of the Danube flanked by the old towns, ruined castles and vineyards of the Wachau region. Highlights are the well-preserved medieval town of Krems, riverside village Dürnstein and Melk, one of Europe’s most staggering baroque monasteries. Tour the underground cellars at Domäne Wachau, a co-operative of 600 regional wine producers, and sample Austrian varietals such as Grüner Veltliner and Blauer Zweigelt. Don’t miss Loisium vineyards at Langenois, known for its sparkling wines: the building of burnished steel houses a clever, interactive and very contemporary cellar door.
Willamette Valley, USA
Eco-friendly, arty, alternative Oregon is perhaps best known for its Portland boutique-beer scene, but follow the Willamette River south from its chief city and you’ll discover a wine region with a growing reputation, especially for Pinot Noir and interesting cool-climate varietals such as Gamay Noir and Viognier. There are hundreds of vineyards between Portland and Eugene, where increasingly sophisticated cellar doors offer innovative cuisine, wellness retreats and small-batch chocolates and cheeses. Better still, the 240km drive enfolds you in pine forest and rolling hills overlooked by snow-capped volcanoes. Marks Ridge Winery and Quailhurst Vineyard provide particularly pleasing panoramas.
"Follow the Willamette River south from its chief city and you’ll discover a wine region with a growing reputation, especially for Pinot Noir and interesting cool-climate varietals such as Gamay Noir and Viognier."
"Tuscany is crammed with history at every turn and peppered with magnificent hilltop towns. The countryside is gorgeous, the food fabulous enough to abandon any diet."
If you want to get a landscape just right, it takes 3000 years of effort. Tuscany is crammed with history at every turn and peppered with magnificent hilltop towns. The countryside is gorgeous, the food fabulous enough to abandon any diet. Slow down and take your time driving the countryside and you won’t be disappointed. You’ll also discover some of Italy’s most famous wine appellations, especially in the Chianti region between Florence and Siena. The ultra-chic cellar door at Antinori Chianti Classico belies the vineyard’s 700 year history, while Badia a Coltibuono is housed in an 11th century monastery.
Lake Geneva, Switzerland
The Lake Geneva shoreline doesn’t just provide classy cities, alpine views and castles, but the opportunity to taste Swiss wines, little known only because most are consumed domestically. The steeply terraced Lavaux region, where the fabulously scenic Route des Vignerons drive ogles the French Alps across the lake, is spectacular. Sip your way through wines from various cellar doors at Lavaux Vinorama. Finish in Montreux or Vevey, which hosts one of the world’s oldest wine festivals. The spectacular pageantry of Fête des Vignerons only comes around every 22 years, but the next is in 2019.
"The steeply terraced Lavaux region, where the fabulously scenic Route des Vignerons drive ogles the French Alps across the lake, is spectacular."
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