If you love wine you know about Bordeaux and Napa but lets us introduce you to 7 World Destinations for Wine Lovers.
Imagine this: You’re sitting in a comfortable art-filled tasting room sipping a delicate cuvée while taking in the panorama of the rolling hills and vines beyond. No, this isn’t Champagne in France—it’s Franciacorta in Italy. It may not be as famous, but that’s precisely what makes it so fascinating . Though one of the country’s best-kept secrets, it should be on every wine lover’s bucket list. Some of the world’s best wine regions are delightedly under the radar, many just a few hours away from their more famous cousins. Some, like Oregon’s Willamette Valley and Long Island’s North Fork, have developed immensely in the past few decades thanks to pioneering winemakers. Others, like Sicily, have been producing wine for centuries but remain off the beaten path.
When it comes to Italian wine, most people immediately think of Tuscany, but Italy has an exciting diversity of wine regions. One of the country’s most incredible hidden gems is Franciacorta, which lies just east of Milan, near Lake Como. Here, vineyards like Ca’ del Bosco produce sparkling wines that rival French Champagne,all with the lakes and mountains of Lombardy as a stunning backdrop.
The secret’s out about Oregon’s Willamette Valley, which boasts 500 wineries, yet it remains free of crowds. Winemakers like Sokol Blosser Winery and Stoller Family Estate are producing top-notch Pinot Noirs in state-of-the-art facilities nestled in the region’s rolling hills. Visitors can day-trip from Portland or stay at the Allison Inn & Spa for a relaxing weekend.
Mendoza produces Argentina’s most famous wines, but the remote Calchaquí Valley in the north is home to some of the highest vineyards in the world. Visitors will find a breathtaking landscape characterised by red rock formations. Grace Cafayate’s luxurious suites and villas make an excellent home base for exploring the region’s estancia and sampling the Torrones and Malbecs that pair well with Andean cuisine.
You can get great wine in New York, and you’ll find it on Long Island’s North Fork. Just a couple hours from New York City, tall buildings give way to vineyards and sand dunes. Standouts include the Provence-inspired Croteaux Vineyards, the only winery in the U.S. that exclusively makes rosés, and McCall Wines, where you can sip Pinot Noir in a former barn and horse stable.
Long famed for Port, the Douro Valley has been coming onto the radar of oenophiles, who are touting the area’s unfortified wines and unusual varietals like Touriga Nacional. The UNESCO protected region is rich with stepped vineyards overlooking the Douro River and narrow winding roads. Six Senses Douro Valley—opened last year in a renovated manor house—is the place to stay for barefoot luxury and a wellness-focused retreat in Portugal’s wine country.
Napa and Sonoma may be California’s most well-known wine regions, but more inland lies Amador County, an old gold rush region flush with vineyards, like Vino Noceto, which produces Sangiovese and other Italian varietals. You’ll see more dusty pickups than BMWs here, but the area’s scrappiness is part of its charm. Some towns like Sutter Creek look straight out of an old western, but new hotels like Hanford House Inn have been steadily revitalising the area.
This rustic island is best known for fortified Marsala wine, but Sicily produces many excellent varietals, including Nero d’Avola, Grecanico, and Grillo. Visitors will find vineyards all over, from the area around Palermo in the west to Mount Etna in the east. Oenophiles looking to explore should book a luxury villa with the Thinking Traveller, which can arrange winery tours and tastings, and even deliver bottles to your door.
After all this is impossible not to fill tempt to go see them all. It’s wine season.
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