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The Wine of Europe

Written By:
Albert Garcia
August 25, 2016

Wine, Vino, Wein, Vinho or Du Vin - whatever language the point is that wine is a most delicious, stimulating and varied drink. It cheers you up, makes your friends seem friendlier (well some), and tastes great with food.

When the Roman Empire was in its infancy, the Greeks introduced this gem to Italy, and as they say the rest is history. A couple of thousand years later and hey presto! Here we are still drinking and enjoying this superb drink. Like a family tree the history of wine has spread its branches to the four corners of the world, especially the New World.

But as we are in Europe, we will begin our “tour” with our neighbours, France. The epicentre of French wine is undoubtedly Bordeaux. Grapes such as Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinor Noir, Malbec and Merlot make some of the finest wines – which, in turn, makes this region a magnet for World exports.

Wine

As we head past Paris we reach one of the most famous wine regions in the world, so much so that it’s in etched in stone, Champagne. Only here can you call this favourite fizz drink by that name. (Rumour has it that Winston Churchill used to have at least one bottle of Pol Roger every other day).

As we move south past the Pyrenees the Iberian peninsula spreads out across to the North African coast. Rioja, Albariño, Ribero Del Duero or Cava will be high on anyone’s list of their favourite tipples whilst in Spain. To the west, Portugal is snugged away, best known for their Port and vinho verde, with many vineyards along the impressive and beautiful Duoro River.

As we venture north and back into France - passing the wine areas of Rhone, Beaujolais and Burgundy - we veer right and reach one of France’s hidden wine regions, Alsace. Just across the border, we enter Germany’s with its rich vineyards along the Rhine and Moselle river valleys.

As we leave Germany, we move into Italy, the world’s number one producer of this magnificent drink. Italy has a varied wine list, which is due to the numerous kingdoms it once possessed. But a small town near Trieste/Venice, next to the Slovenia border, has made its mark on many brits evening drinking events – yes, the charismatic name of Prosecco. Made from the Glera grape, this has had such a large influence that we nearly ran out of this popular drink due to its popularity. Nowadays, many areas in Northern Italy produce this fine party pleaser due to its huge demand.

As it is near impossible to visit all the great places on an Ocean cruise ship, the alternative is a River cruise. Italy, France, Germany, Portugal and Spain are on the list and you don’t have to get a taxi to get home. As the elegant river cruise ships cut through Europe’s waterways, you will get the chance to explore Europe’s fine vineyards, Chateaus or estates.

Designated tours will show you how this “Favourite” tipple is fermented, Oaked and drunk - a must for wine connoisseur. For all your wine themed tours, river cruises are right up there, enabling you to relax on deck with the crisp fresh air whilst enjoying a fine Sauvignon and seeing the world drift by. It certainly beats the coach on the B23 motorway.

Bordeaux Wine

Riviera Travel

A typical British layout that will offer the guest some real home comforts. Choose air or Eurostar and enjoy a spectacular and relaxing river cruise through some of the finest landscapes that Germany has to offer. Some of the highlights include the stunning scenery along the Moselle valley and the Rhine. Dates from May 2017.

AMA Waterways - Normandy to Bordeaux to Duoro

An exquisite voyage of Bordeaux - the capital of Aquitaine in SW France and one of the world’s undisputed wine capitals. Visit and discover stately chateaux, abundant vineyards and breath-taking scenery as you sail along the Garonne River and its surrounding estuaries. Visiting cities like Cadillac, Bourg and Libourne.

Enjoy the wine tastings in this area, which is known for its fine vintages. Once everyone has become knowledgeable and a wine “connoisseur”, you can slow down your journey and wind down with a two-night stay in the Loire Valley and one-night in Paris. The Duoro River in Portugal/Spain, with all those rolling vineyards - no wonder these itineraries sell year upon year.

Uniworld - Southern France

Rhone to Burgundy. Van Gogh, Cézanne and Gauguin are some of the previous travellers to have ventured this fine wine region. With all the trappings of an all-inclusive brand such as Uniworld, you can be sure that this will stretch your hard-earned money. This charming and exquisite journey in Southern France’s beautiful countryside will inspire you just like other masters who helped shape their vision to the world.

Your five-star river cruise ship will navigate the serene Rhône and Saône rivers. From Avignon to Lyon, you will experience the region’s grandest wines and French cuisine whilst admiring many treasures on route such as a visit to Beaune, the wine capital of the region.

Uniworld - Venice and Northern Italy

Uncover the extraordinary hidden treasures of this odyssey through Northern Italy that begins in Milan, home to “Da Adriatic.” The two iconic cities of Milan and Venice bookend an exploration of Northern Italy that rewards the curious traveller with amazing experiences in Verona, Padua, Bologna and Ferrara.

Along the River Po, in Northern Italy, this unique and unusual river cruise is one that will enchant your knowledge of this area whilst enjoying the wine, of course, and the lavish and delightful Italian food. With Venice – “The City of Water” as your final stop - the three outer-lying Venetian islands: Burano, Mazzorbo, and Torcello await your presence.

Now for that Prosecco, chin-chin.

Albert Garcia

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