Posts Tagged ‘napa valley’

By Claire Yeading, Grand Crew Contributor

For wine lovers there are many reasons to make a wine vacation your vacation of choice for 2014: and no, we’re not just talking about the chance to sample a wide variety of vintages! Colorful landscapes, beautiful vineyards and the chance to meet a host of interesting and likeminded people are also all great reasons to make a wine vacation the vacation for you. But which trip is the best one for you? If money were no object, where in the world should you be booking that flight to? Here are some ideas:

Try Tuscany

Tuscany is renowned as being one of the greatest wine regions in the world. A trip here is worth undertaking simply to try the famous Chianti Classico at source! But as well as the wine, Tuscany is an incredibly beautiful part of the world to visit. Think stunning landscapes, leafy vineyards and rolling hills. Many of the wineries are found in converted castles, which only adds to the excitement and drama of a visit to the region. When you visit Tuscany you’ll find endless sunshine, and your wine can be complemented by the fabulous plump olives that the region is famous for too. If you love your food as much as you love your wine, then Tuscany is the perfect vacation destination for you.

Love the Loire Valley                         

You can’t write a list of places to visit for a wine vacation without mentioning France! And the Loire Valley is one of the most fascinating parts of France to visit for a wine vacation. Smoky cabernet, sweet muscadets and crisp sauvignon blancs should all be on your must-drink list when you visit this famous wine region.  The Loire Valley is one of the most beautiful and picturesque parts of France. It is famed for the lush greenness of the landscape, and you’ll often hear the gentle sound of the Loire river passing by the vineyards you choose to visit. You’ll come for the wine, stay for the beautiful chateaux, and contemplate moving here forever before you leave!

Book a Wine Cruise

If you’re interest is in European wine and you’d like to explore more than one region during your vacation, then a great option would be to book a European food and wine cruise. This will enable you to explore some of the continent’s most famous and popular wine producing regions from the comfort of your cruise ship. You can also enjoy some especially fine wines, hand-chosen to enhance your journey, whilst you travel.  According to Iglu Cruise, these kind of cruises enable travelers to immerse themselves in this important social and cultural aspect of the port of call. Everything from regional cuisine, wineappreciation and dining etiquette await you on this type of gastronomic adventure. Many cruises will even have expert wine tasters on hand to help to guide you through the grape varieties of each region and teach you everything you need to know about the art of wine tasting. For the wine lover, this really and truly is the trip of a lifetime.

Closer to Home in Napa Valley

If you want to stay within the United States and travel a little closer to home then there’s only one place to go. Head to the Napa Valley. With over fifty different types of grapes on offer, as well as some beautiful vineyards and cozy caverns where you can sit and enjoy a glass of fine wine, this trip is the perfect way to relax and unwind whilst exploring the world of fine wine. Napa Valley is just fifty miles north of San Francisco, meaning that you could also combine your tranquil wine trip with exploration of this vibrant city too. It’s a best of both worlds vacation, and one that is especially suited to those new to the concept of wine-based vacation.

If you’re thinking of taking a wine vacation for 2014, then there are endless wonderful possibilities for where to travel. So what are you waiting for? Why not start the New Year by booking your dream wine vacation today?


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Segway: I first discovered this wine at the Brookside Golf & Country Club Open House Wine and Spirits Tasting, with my dad. It was all the rave and I remember thinking it was pretty good but not paying too much attention to it, since I was more focused on the socializing than I was the wine. I forget the details but the generalities behind the story of this wine are that William Kavney apparently bought the best wines that were left over from the production of some top Napa producers. He then blends them together to make his small production creation with a Bulldog logo on the clearly hand-crafted label.

The story behind the Hausfrau Haven wine store is pretty cool too. Hausfrau Haven is where I purchased the William Kavney Cellars bottle. I was asking around at the open house, trying to pinpoint who in Ohio distributed and/or retailed Guigal wines. I was a winemaking apprentice, A.K.A. Cellar Rat, at Guigal during the 2009 vintage and so naturally I’m deadset on getting my hands on one of the 2009 LaLas. I’m pretty damn proud to be able to say that I helped make those wines and was part of the EPIC 2009 vintage. By the way I was also part of spilling a few thousand dollars worth of wine on the cellar floor, after failing to properly fasten one of the pumps. I considered it an offering to the French wine gods. LaLa, by the way, is the nickname for Guigal’s top single-vineyard Cote-Roties (La Turque, La Mouline and La Landonne) that demand between 3 and 5 bills a bottle! But more importantly, these are some AMAZING wines!

So how the hell does Guigal have anything to do with this William Kavney Cellars tasting, other than me selfishly plugging my 2009 vintage? Well nothing yet, except that after asking around at the Open House, I was told that the top wine buyer in Columbus was Faye, owner of Hausfrau Haven wine store and “the best palate in Ohio”. And additionally, I was told that she would be the best bet for finding a bottle of a Guigal LaLa. So I dropped in for a visit to Hausfrau and sure enough they carried Guigal, including the LaLas! Now my name’s on the list for the 2009 vintage, which is still in the barrel btw, and won’t be in the shop for another 6 to 12 months. Some of the LaLas are aged for up to 4 years in barrel. Now that’s what I call barrel ageing!

Sorry I understand that I STILL haven’t got to the point of today’s tasting. So much buildup I know! Well the closing chapter of this saga is that after speaking to one of the wine reps and asking for his favorite bottle under $20, he immediately grabbed the William Kavney Cellar 2007 Cab, the exact same wine that was all the rave at the Brookside Open House. The End!

William Kavney Cellars “Cabernet Sauvignon” Napa Valley 2007
Tasting Notes: 100% cabernet sauvignon, 13.8% vol. Dark ruby red in the glass. A decent amount of alcohol on the nose, accompanied by pleasant and subtle notes of black fruits, cinnamon and vanilla spice. Silky-smooth texture up front, followed by strong fruit, black cherry jam, good balance of acidity and finishing with dry tannins and notes of dark chocolate and oak. Certainly nothing magical and not all the rave, BUT definitely an overall enjoyable wine.
Rating: 15/20 (89/100)
Price: US$20 @ Hausfrau Haven in German Village, Columbus, Ohio

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