Jancis Robinson is one of the world’s most famous wine writers and probably one of the most travelled too so she has seen a few wine regions. In a recent posting on her site she writes about the “Five top destinations for the wine tourist”.
Here is her list and a summary of her comments on her choice of the best wine countries to visit:
“The greatest concentration of expensive wine in the world” which is of course true but perhaps not a fair description of the reasons to go to Bordeaux. It is indeed the epitome of classic wines but it is also a place where you can find a lot of enthusiastic and engaging young winemakers making very affordable wines — alongside some of the world’s most expensive wines. She also mentions the CIVB and Max wine bars. You can find more recommendations in our City Guide to Bordeaux in our resources section.
“The rolling Langhe hills [..], where it is virtually impossible to eat badly” in the small towns and villages of Barolo or Barbaresco, where, as Jancis points out “the most modest café seems to insist on serving at least four courses”. There is not only great food in the Piedmont but also some of Italy’s greatest wines. Jancis notes that it is not always easy to get into some of the wineries for a visit though.
Napa and Sonoma
Jancis’ comment “California’s most famous wine region has become such a tourist Mecca that Route 29 is to be avoided in high season” is sound advice. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the US. All of the wineries are well equipped with tasting rooms and shops to receive the thousands of visitors that come each weekend.
Cape wine country
“South Africa’s wine country has to be some of the world’s most beautiful” says Jancis although that is a title that is very contested by several other regions (not least number five on this list). Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franschhoek are very welcoming with many wineries having both tasting rooms and restaurants and some even hotels. May we add that there are other regions close-by to add to the “to visit” list, for example Durbanville and Wellington.
“Port country has always been some of the wine world’s most dramatic but now it has the hotels and infrastructure to show it off from” says Jancis. We would probably put the Douro Valley near the top, if not at the top, of the world’s most spectacular wine sceneries. Jancis notes that in recent years the offer of hotels and restaurants has greatly improved. We must add that the Douro Valley today not only makes port wine but also some of the most spectacular and delicious red “table” wines in Portugal. And quite a few very impressive whites to.
Making a “top five”of wine travel destinations is difficult. You can’t really argue too much with Jancis’ choice. The biggest problem is paring it down to just five! There are so many others. But broadly we think Jancis Robinson’s choice of the top five wine travel destinations is excellent.
Which of course is reflected in that BKWine currently organises wine tours to four of the five destinations: Bordeaux, Piedmont, the Cape in South Africa and the Douro Valley, either as a scheduled wine tour or as custom designed wine tours. Check out our selection in the menus.