On an inspiring wine journey with expert Fleur

On an inspiring wine journey with expert Fleur

Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

You can always dream

First of all I would like to wish you all a happy new year! I hope you enjoyed all the bubbles and orbs and are ready for a new year. Because it looks like we'll be stuck in our little country for a while, I thought: you can always dream, just with your thoughts between the vineyards ... So now read along in the blog "on an inspiring wine journey with expert Fleur".

Seven years ago, Maurice took me on my first wine trip to Germany. I had never been there and had no idea what a beautiful wine country Germany is. I have already made many wine trips to the Champagne region, Bourgogne, Alsace, Puglia, Veneto, Mendoza, Rheinhessen, Ahr, Kaiserstuhl, etc. But Germany as a wine country is really number 1, no doubt about it!

wine tour
A piece of the tropics in Germany!

Perhaps it has to do with the fact that it is the origin of my favorite grape: the Riesling, or that it far exceeded my expectations, or because the German winegrowers are the sweetest of all the winegrowers I've had the opportunity to meet. I can't quite put my finger on it, but Germany really is a perfect country for a wine trip! Okay, my preference is clear. Whichever country you choose, the tips below are always useful! We're going on a wine tour.

On an inspiring wine journey with expert Fleur
Fleur with winemaker Mauro Stival.

The preparation

The fun for me always starts planning the trip. When I go on a private wine trip, I take more time to enjoy the surroundings and visit the tourist attractions instead of just wineries. Whichever wine country you go to, some preparation is useful. Check in advance which wineries you would like to visit. If necessary, make an appointment for a tasting. You can also book a tour at many wineries, which they do on certain days and times.

But also look at the route, do you want to stay in one area? Or do you want to visit several wine regions? For example, if you go to the Loire in France you can fill two weeks, but Rheinhessen in Germany can last a maximum of three days. Some wineries also offer overnight accommodation with a package that includes, for example, a tour, tasting and possibly dinner. I would always advise this, so you get the most out of the atmosphere.

On the bonnet

Of course you can also go on a wine trip on spec. If you are planning this, I advise you to go to a large wine region where there is also more to experience besides wine. I once went to the Champagne region on spec. We slept in the town of Epernay. We were only here for one night and this was from Monday to Tuesday: you can guess it, everything was closed and there was really nothing to do at all. In addition, all wineries were closed because they were in the middle of the harvest. Very handy Fleur. I was lucky that I had a restaurant at the time and could call my wine supplier (there we have Maurice again…), who could arrange a visit to a Champagne house. Fortunately, we still had a Champagne tasting!

The tasting: waltz, smell, taste!

The tasting

There you are, for the first time at a winery, ready for a wine tasting. And now? A winery has a tasting room which is set up to allow guests to taste their wines. There is a list with their wines and the corresponding prices. You can look at the list which wines you want to taste and then serve them in tasting glasses. How do you taste that wine? Of course we don't want to embarrass you, so here's the correct order:

  • First you look at the color by tilting your glass above a white background.
  • Then you smell the wine.
  • You roll the wine in the glass and smell it again: the rolling releases many odors in the wine.
  • You taste the wine by “slurping” while the wine is still in your mouth. This allows air to enter the wine so that you can taste more.

The tour

Some wineries also offer a tour. I always enjoy doing this. Especially because I always want to know everything about the house and the different wines when I'm there. But it is not necessary, it is not an insult or anything like that to the winemaker if you reject this or do not choose this. What can you expect from a tour? If the winery is next to or between the grape vines, the winemaker will also show you the vineyard and talk about the vines. How old they are, which grapes grow on them, when they pick the grapes, etc.

The cellar is also often included in a tour. Here you can see how the wines are stored in barrels: stainless steel or wood. With a bit of luck, the winemaker will let you taste the wine from the cask. You then taste the wine which is not yet “finished”. It is always nice to taste the difference with the wine in the tasting that is yet to be. Furthermore, they usually also show the place where they bottle the wine. Do you have questions? Then ask them! The winemaker is often enthusiastic about this and while you are there you can take advantage of it.

My top 5 wineries that are really worth visiting on this inspiring wine tour with expert Fleur:

I have noticed that, unfortunately, there is quite a big difference when you go on a business or private wine tour. Especially when you consider the hospitality of the wineries. You can safely go to Germany as a private person, here they are very hospitable. In France, on the other hand, I noticed that the winemakers only take you seriously if you A speak the language and B if you are there to buy large quantities. (In the very touristic areas in France you can certainly visit wineries, do so especially at a cooperative, they will help you there.) The Italians are also super hospitable as long as you don't come around dinner time.

Number 1: Weingut Allendorf, Rheingau, Germany

It's still a party to walk in here, very sweet family who are always excited to tell you about their wine. They even have a real world of experience here: you enter rooms with different colors and you can taste the different wines here. This way you notice what color does to your perception of taste and smell. And the wines are simply fantastic. My all-time favorite is the Jesuitengarten Riesling Groses Gewachs. What a wine!

Number 2: Domaine Martin Jund, Colmar, France

You will find this winery in the middle of the beautiful city of Colmar. Typical, at least, I have never experienced it before: a winery in the middle of the city. Again a family business. One son makes the wine, the other is responsible for marketing and mothers run the hotel. Romance through and through, what a lovely place to stay.

Maison Martin Jund : Located in the center of town.

Number 3: Gretzmeier, Kaiserstuhl, Germany

The Mediterranean part of Germany; wine region the Kaiserstuhl. An old Volcanic area with beautiful views and palm trees. The winery of Jakob and Elena can be found here, a young and enthusiastic couple who run the shop together. At the winery they also have a restaurant where they serve typical German dishes. The entry-level Spatburgunder is the best Spatburgunder you can get for that price in Germany.

Number 4: Tapiz, Mendoza, Argentina

If you are ever in Argentina and near Mendoza, be sure to visit this winery. With a 5 star boutique hotel and swimming pool between the grapevines: what more could you want?! Hotel guests are offered a free wine tasting every afternoon, they arrange everything for you: trips, taxis, a tour of the vineyard. Super luxury, that best describes this winery/hotel.

Fleur in Argentina at Tapiz

Number 5: Moletto, Veneto, Italy

Mauro Stival is the man who makes the wines and is the “entertainer” of the winery. Rarely have I experienced such an enthusiastic winemaker. When he starts talking about his wines, you feel the passion, the love for his wines and you like the wine without even having tasted it.

On an inspiring wine journey with expert Fleur
In the Moletto Veneto vineyard.

And so we come to the end of the: “On an inspiring wine journey with expert Fleur blog”

Do you have questions or need help planning your trip? Feel free to email me, I'll be happy to help! If you participate in the dry-January, I wish you the best of luck! (Which, by the way, I'm not participating in myself: but you probably wouldn't have expected otherwise from me.) I mean, I have to taste Chardonnay for the next blog in two weeks ;-P. CHAR-DO-YES SO. Until then!!

This blog “On an inspiring wine journey with expert Fleur” is a contribution of guest foodie Fleur Verloo. You can order wine from her, or email your questions.

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