It’s not time to make the doughnuts, but it is time to make the wine this Fall in the Northern Hemisphere. But you’ve been to Napa. (Which is of course always a good time.) For your bucket list, you may want to venture further afield. Don’t worry, we of course have France and Italy on the list. But in this region, they’ve been making wine for 8000+ years. And did you know the largest wine cellar is 34 miles long? It’s probably not where you think it is either. Here are five unique wine trips that will up your grape IQ.
The Wine: Brunello di Montalcino, Rosso di Montalcino
Where to stay: Castiglion del Bosco
Region: East-Central France
The Wine: Burgundy
Region: Western Argentina
The Wine: Malbec
This is normally the trip that opens up the world of wine beyond France and Italy to oenophiles. Argentinian Malbec is a delicious, “juicy” wine aged in oak. Rich, chocolatey, and velvety, Mendoza Malbec is often saved for special occasions. The special Malbec grape produces a full-bodied flavor, and the wine has a mild acidity that adds a spectacular sharpness.
The topography of the Mendoza is unique, which makes it unique wine trip. The soil is not rolling fields of green. Instead, it’s more rocky and it’s framed in the background by the stunning Andes mountains.
Where to stay: Cavas Wine Lodge
The Wine: There are over 500 grape varietals in Georgia
If you’re looking for a unique wine trip, count this as near the top of the list. This is not Georgia the peaches, but instead, Georgia the country. Georgia was part of the former Soviet Union, at which time the art of winemaking took a detour. It is said though that the Georgians began the art of winemaking, over 8,000 years ago. And today, a lot of households and vineyards still make wine by the same method. In this traditional process, grapes with stems and all, are thrown into clay pots called qvevri, that are buried deep in the ground. As the grapes naturally ferment, the skins and stems separate from the fruit. With a hollowed pumpkin, the liquid is then transferred to another qvevri. It is then aged for another approximately three months for red wine, and six months for white. That orange wine craze that seems it’s new? Well, it’s originally Georgian, as whites are referred to ember wine because of their orange hued color.
Georgian wines are diverse and well-suited to many occasions and palates. If you’re headed to Georgia (which we recommend highly even for education), the wine you can’t miss is Saperavi. These grapes can be sweet or dry. The flavor is fruity and acidic, making it a nice complement to heartier meals.
Where to stay: Post up in the capital city of Tbilisi at The Stamba and make it to Kakheti for a day trip. The Samba is an old printing factory, that is converted to one of the coolest boutique hotels around. We’re going to do an entire feature on the hotel and their shower. (But more on that later.)