Europe is blessed with some of the best and most prestigious wine-growing regions in the world, and countries like France and Portugal have a long history when it comes to winemaking. For the wine lover, this means plenty of stunning vineyards to visit, as well as ample wine tasting opportunities in some unique locations. There are many ways to see these wineries: rent a cottage in Provence for a week, rent a car and take a wine-tasting roadtrip (though be careful not to drink too much!) or try a summer cruise which includes the opportunity to stop off and sample some of Provence’s greatest vineyards.
The Bodega Ysios in Spain is one of the most striking of all vineyards, and was designed to act as a flagship for a prestigious new wine called “la Rioja Alavesa”. The building blends into the mountainous background and really does have to be seen to be believed. Tours and tastings are available, although you may need to book to ensure that you can see inside.
The Chateau Margaux Estate has been producing wine in one form of another since the 14th Century, and some of the estate’s best wines can fetch extremely high prices. The chateau itself features on the label of some of the wines, which include highly sought after and well regarded Bordeaux, produced by the estate.
Chateau Pichon –Lalande
Chateau Pichon-Lalande is arguably one of the best know wineries in the world, and the second-growth vineyard is another that is located in the Bordeaux growing region. A 35% concentration of Merlot, which is considered high for this region, means that the wine stands out, but it is arguably the building that makes the visit special.
Marques De Riscal
If there is one winery that will remain in the memory longer than any other, then it is the incredible Marques de Riscal in the Rioja area of Spain. Designed by architect Frank Gehry, the winery is a breath-taking combination of metal waves and stone plinths that may not be to everybody’s tastes but is certainly unique. It reminded me of the vineyard back home in Napa valley. Fortunately, the wine is also memorable, making this one trip to include your winery tour of Europe.
Domaine de Tourraque
Provence is a region well known for its stunning vineyards, but Domaine de Tourraque still manages to stand out for being one of the most charming. The fact that it is just down the road from Saint Tropez also gives it additional appeal, although while you are enjoying a personal two and a half hour tour of the vineyard that is given by the winemaker himself, it is very easy to forget just how close you are to all that glamour.