Has a drink ever been as worshipped as the one that comes courtesy of the humble grape? Wine is more than a beverage. It’s a hobby, a lifestyle, a joy and a huge part of many holidays. For some people it’s one of the main reasons they go away.
Vineyards in destinations like France, New Zealand, South Africa and California draw huge numbers of people keen to treat their palates to fine wine and their other senses to glorious scenery. In fact wine is such a global passion that most places will have a local tipple to try. Many great hotels take as much pride in the contents of their cellars as they do in the beds in their rooms and the art on their walls.
Somehow the word ‘cellar’ takes on a whole new life when the word ‘wine’ is placed in front of it. A cellar creates images in my mind of dark damp basements with spiders and rats loitering around, waiting to scare humans who are nervously searching for some long lost tool. As a general rule I never go in cellars. Unless, of course, it’s a wine cellar! A wine cellar creates an image of cool caverns of ancient stone laden with dusty bottles and a delicious range of crisp whites and vibrant reds. It’s a romantic picture that no other drink storage area can paint.
With a good wine cellar usually comes good food and someone who knows what goes with what to turn your meal into a feast. I’m craving a crisp glass of white wine just thinking about it, but I am known for enjoying a good glass of wine. But Henry, my fiancé, is obsessed! He wants to learn all about what he’s trying – I’ve never seen him talk to anyone for as long as he talks to sommeliers when he meets a good one!
So I thought it was high time I took him away somewhere that would really excite his taste buds and his inquisitive mind. I was astonished (and I’m rarely astonished) to read that Small Luxury Hotels of the World has no less than 96 hotels that have wine cellars worth boasting about.
Equally as astonishing is the list of places these hotels are found in. Chiang Mai in Thailand, Sussex in the UK, Murnau in Germany, Cuernvava in Mexico, Male in the Maldives… I could go on.
Since the start of the year I’ve been talking about indulging myself, about doing things I love. And I have no hesitation in adding wine to that list of loves. It’s an art form. An art form that is far more inclusive and popular than any other and an art form that can really make a holiday even more special.
I’m going to have to have a glass of wine now. Sadly there is no cellar here so I’ll have to pop to Waitrose until I can travel to my dream wine cellar. I can already see myself on a veranda, somewhere warm, watching the sun disappear behind a hill as I sip on a delicious vino and listen to Henry talk to a stranger about grapes.
I’d love to hear where your favourite wine comes from and where you had your most memorable glass.
See you next week.