June 11, 2012, by admin
European Trip 2012
Back in May, my wife Cyndy & I took a 16 day vacation to France & Italy. Needless to say, wine and wine regions were high on our radar screen.
Along with the numerous churches and museums we visited which included Notre Dame, Santa Croce, the Vatican, the Louvre, Versailles & Pompeii, we also found the time to do a wine tour in both France & Italy.
While in France, we decided to visit Bordeaux and take in a full day tour of the Haute-Medoc region. This region produces some of the world’s best wines. The tour included visits and tastings at three different wineries with 1855 Classification:
Chateau Latour-Carnet (a castle with a real moat)
This wine tour may have been the highlight of our entire trip! Although the 3 chateaux we visited were unique in their own way, our favorite was Chateau Branaire-Ducru. This winery produces 300,000 cases of wine per year so we were quite impressed when the owner himself, Patrick Maroteaux, gave us the tour of his winery and joined us for lunch & wine tasting.
As an added twist to our travel excursions, we also visited the Normandy region of northern France. This area is known as an apple growing region, much like the Annapolis Valley region of Nova Scotia (is it a coincidence that many of the Acadians who settled in the Annapolis region in the 1600s were from the Normandy region?). While in Normandy we visited a Calvados distillery. Calvados is a 40%-42% spirit made from 30+ different varieties of apples. It must be aged no less than 14 years to be branded as Calvados. The oldest vintage on site was an untapped barrel dated 1926. We purchased a 14 year vintage.
While in Italy, we did a day tour of the Tuscany region. This is Chianti country and is some of the most beautiful countryside in the world! Part of our tour was a visit to the Guardastelle winery where they grow Sangiovese grapes for their Chianti wines and olives for their cold press oils. Along with Chianti Classico, we also sampled Montepulciano and Barolo. None were disappointing.
On May 28th, after 6 airplane rides, 8 Euro train trips, 8 different hotel rooms and far too many great bottles of wine to count, it was time to head home and return to reality.
Since a picture worth 1000 words, I invite you to visit: www.winekitznewminas.ca to view photos of our wine tours.
Ciao for Niao
See you at the store.