“Staycations” can be great fun, a way to better connect with your hometown or a neighboring village without spending an arm and a leg.
But if the time has come for a vinous vacation, chances are you’re going to have to travel. Where to go? Wine Enthusiast magazine has come up with a list of the 10 “best wine travel destinations” for 2013:
- Rioja, Spain
- Danube, Austria
- North and South Forks of Long Island, N.Y.
- Stellenbosch, South Africa
- Monterey County, Calif.
- Vale dos Vinhedos, Brazil
- Willamette Valley, Ore.
- Hunter Valley, New South Wales, Australia
- Douro Valley, Portugal
- Puglia, Italy
Today and tomorrow, we’ll touch on the highlights of the first three. So, pull up a chair, keep your seat belt loosely fastened around your lap (even when the seatbelt sign is not illuminated), and let’s take off to wine country…
You can view the vineyards from a hot air balloon in California’s Napa Valley, and the same is true in Spain’s Rioja region, home to more than 500 wineries.
But Rioja offers several other “perspectives,” a few of which may be unique in the wonderful world of wine. According to the La Rioja Tourist Board, visitors may also explore selected local vineyards on horseback, in a kayak, on a bicycle, by foot, and even in a 4×4. Most accompanied tours are available in both Spanish and English.
La Rioja produces about 40% of Spain’s wines, and the region’s wineries have great success with both red and white varietals.
Among the reds to look for are Monastrell, Tempranillo, Garnacha, Graciano and Mazuelo. Top white varieties include Sauvignon Blanc, Verdejo, Viura, Malvasia, Garnacha Blanca, Chardonnay, and Torrontes.
Tomorrow: The Danube and our own Long Island.