>> Monday, July 05, 2010
At this time of the year many are thinking about the upcoming vacation, or perhaps you have already left for holidays (at least in Scandinavia, summer holidays often start in June). For many of us that means travel, perhaps to a country cottage, perhaps to a place close to the beach and the sea.
In the travel business, that is also ours, it is sometime difficult to live in the present. All the time you have to be one year ahead of time. For instance, we have just launched a new wine tour to South Africa for March 2011 (and will be launching more 2011 tours in September). It seems like an eternity to March 2011. But then, and we’ve barely noticed that the time passed, we’re there! Time passes quickly.
Time passes quickly perhaps because there are plenty of things on the agenda. In September we’ve planned a real harvest tour. We will be taking a group of wine enthusiasts to the Bordeaux vineyards, where we will put them to work in the vineyards. They will harvest the grapes; work at the sorting table (a very sticky job, I can assure you!); watch the wine ferment (more exciting than watching paint dry!); pumping over etc etc. The next day we will go to one of the top Sauternes chateaux and enjoy a five course meal (or should we say twelve course? Each course is actually a selection of three or four mini-courses). And all through the meal we will have sauternes, only sauternes. Sauternes all through a meal? Yes indeed. It might sound strange but I can assure you that it is a magnificent experience. Especially when the sauternes are top quality with a selection of different vintages. An food-and-wine matching experience worth trying!
That “the next day” is different is something that is true for every wine tour though. Even if you are travelling and visiting vineyards in one single wine region every visit will be a very different experience – because the wines are different, yes, but mainly because at every place there is a person that one meets, and it is the meeting with the people that really is the major part of the experience. Everyone has different ideas about wine making, wine style and how things should be done. In Champagne in October (another scheduled trip) that will certainly be made clear: a dozen or so wineries that we will visit tasting blanc de blancs, millesimés etc; and everyone will be a different experience, including of course a few memorable champagne lunches – coming back to the food part. That will be another occasion to try wine and food matching: champagne all through the meal! (Perhaps a touch less surprising than the sauternes lunch.)
And talking about food, in Veneto in northern Italy we will taste many amarones and Valpolicellas, but we will also go hunting for some of the local gastronomic specialities: the Parma ham and the parmesan cheese in neighbouring Emilia-Romagna.
In Piedmont in October we will go tasting the world famous Barolos and Barbarescos, made from the nebbiolo grape. Our visit there with a group of wine travellers coincides with the truffles season… It will be an occasion to bring home some of the revered white truffles for those who want to organise a gastronomic event at home later on.
Enough about the autumn perhaps.
In the summer we usually don’t do so much travelling as the rest of the year. But this year we actually have one wine tour scheduled in the summer: to Châteauneuf-du-Pape. It is actually the first time we plan a wine tour in the middle of summer. We’ve always thought that people are too busy sailing or enjoying the beach, but apparently not so: the Châteauneuf tour is fully booked. So we are sure to plan a summer wine tour for next year too.
But for now we wish you a very enjoyable summer vacation. In the Brief, you will find some summer reading.
Britt & Per
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