Next month, wine aficionados around the world are celebrating 300 years of ‘Chianti Classico’. The area now called ‘Chianti Classico’, between Florence and Siena, was originally designated in July 1716 by Cosimo III, Grand Duke of Tuscany, in an attempt to combat counterfeiting on wine production and regulate the wine trade.
To mark the anniversary, we like to list our top wine destinations around Europe for you! From Burgundy to Bordeaux, Alsace to Tuscany, and the Rioja to Douro Valley: discover vine-covered valleys, meet local winemakers, wander through vineyards and of course enjoy wine tasting on your holiday in Europe!
Located in central Italy, Tuscany is home to some of the world’s most notable wine regions, including Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano (primarily made with Sangiovese grape). It is also famous for the dessert wine Vin Santo, as well as a class of wines known in the trade as ‘Super Tuscans’, which are considered of high quality and command high prices. With this year's 300th anniversary of the Chianti Classico, it is one of the top destinations for a wine tasting holiday in Europe.
Want to go on a wine tasting holiday to Tuscany? Discover the Chianti wine region and more on our Tuscany on Foot walking holiday.
Douro Valley, Portugal
This surprisingly unspoilt valley (the Douro River flows through steep channels for around 125 miles across the north of Portugal) is home to the first demarcated wine region in the world. Officially established in 1756 when the Port industry developed, it has the country’s highest wine classification as a denominação de origem controlada. Although associated primarily with Port, it produces just as much table wine (non-fortified wines) as it does fortified wine. Besides the vineyards and grapes, the area offers fantastic scenery along the Douro River, which is perfect to explore on foot.
Want to go on a wine tasting holiday to the Douro Valley? Our Douro Rambler walking holiday takes you deep into small working wine estates of golden terraces laced with vines,
Burgundy has a higher number of appellations d'origine contrôlée than any other French region, which are classified from carefully delineated Grand Cru vineyards down to more nonspecific regional appellations. The most famous wines here (those commonly referred to as ‘Burgundies’) are dry red wines from Pinot Noir grapes and white wines made from Chardonnay grapes, with small amounts of rosé and sparkling wines also produced. You can start a wine walking holiday in the walled city of Beaune, the region'sl wine capital.
Want to go on a wine tasting holiday to Burgundy? Explore the very best of the region on our Burgundy Vineyard Trails walking holiday.
Wachau Valley, Austria
The Wachau Valley in Lower Austria, located midway between the towns of Melk and Krems, attracts “connoisseurs and epicureans” for its high-quality wines. The 3,300-acre wine region is a source of Austria’s most prized dry Rieslings and Grüner Veltliners. Traditionally the vines are planted on the steep stony slopes next to the Danube, with the temperature variation between day and night playing a significant role in the process of the grapes ripening.
Rioja is made from grapes grown in three regions in northern Spain (the Autonomous Community of La Rioja but also in parts of Navarre and the Basque province of Álava), with many wines traditionally blending fruit from all three regions. La Rioja has a total of 57,000 hectares cultivated, yielding 250 million litres of wine annually, of which 85% is ‘tinto’ (red). A distinct characteristic of Rioja wine is the effect of oak aging.
The geography of the wine growing area in Alsace is determined by the Vosges Mountains in the west and the Rhine River in the east, with the vineyards concentrated in a narrow strip on the lower eastern slopes of the Vosges. Wine here is all about aromas, with Pinot d’Alsace widely considered as one of the most uniquely flavoured white wines in the world. An abundance of cellar doors awaits for you on this walking and wine trip, while the local cuisine includes specialties such as tarte flambé. The best vineyards of France have long been associated with the Haut-Rhin, in the southern part of the Alsace region.
Want to go on a wine tasting holiday in the Alscae? Visit the best vineyards on our Alsace Vineyard Trails 7-day walking holiday.
With a total vineyard area of over 120,000 hectares, Bordeaux is the largest wine growing area in France. There are 54 appellations of Bordeaux wine, ranging from large quantities of everyday table wine to some of the most expensive and prestigious wines in the world. Average vintages produce over 700 million bottles of Bordeaux wine, 89% of which is red (also known as ‘claret’ in Britain).
Want to go on a wine tasting holiday in the Bordeaux? One of the options you have is to embard on this easy-going, on-road circuit tour through The Vineyards of Bordeaux.
For more information on wine tasting holidays in Europe and for booking requests please contact our team of travel experts in our London offices who will be delighted to help you more.