The Best Villas for Wine Lovers
There are a growing number of wine connoisseurs who wish to combine a bucolic holiday setting with a high quality wine tasting experience, as well as an education in new or unusual vintages in the site that is producing them.
Italy has some of the most alluring villas for wine lovers in Europe. Villa Altaserra Wine Resort in Tuscany is one of the most exceptional. A five bedroom, centuries old stone Tuscan farmhouse estate once owned by the Medici family, it has 22 hectares of vineyards producing two very different wines united by a mellow, elegant finish. The local traditional wine comes from the Sangiovese grape, grown in rocky soil. To satisfy the demands of the international market, a combination of Sangiovese with Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes are used, grown in the more fertile soil of the rolling vineyards.
Also to be found in the famed Chianti wine region is the beautiful Castellare de Sernigi estate. The seven bedroom manor house, on the edge of an ancient village, has an entire lower ground level devoted to the wine and olive oil produced on the estate. Guests are able to purchase from the extensive collection as a highlight of their stay. There is the opportunity for a sommelier to visit the villa to offer their expertise in food and wine pairing. It is also possible to take guided tours of the Chianti region, in which wine tastings are combined with sampling meats and foraging for wild herbs with a knowledgeable local.
Moving on from the region but not the nation, Torre Scilano is a unique property in Lombardy. An Alpine chalet crafted from a historic tower, the villa, which has featured in a number of style features, is surrounded by its own vineyards. The Lombardy region is famous for its excellent Sassella and Inferno wines and is the perfect place to get acquainted with some of Italy’s finest wines.
Naturally, viticulture heavyweight France also has some truly superb places for wine loving travellers. La Bastide de Vignes, situated in the Languedoc-Roussillon wine region, is an enchanting traditional country home with panoramic views of the Pyrenees. The village in which the property is set has its own Chateau which produces some great wines. Amongst the highly rated wines from Château Belveze are its Malepere and the award-winning Château Cabezac Grande Cuvée Belvèze.
For a charming combination of wine and food odyssey, Villa La Tosca is the perfect setting, in the Bordeaux region. With eight bedrooms in a lavish historic property right by the sea at Lanton, it is an excellent base for oyster tasting, wine tours and even helicopter tours over the Bordeaux region. The villa is also pleased to organise dinner with wine pairing on site. Everywhere from the library to the cinema to the sweeping grounds is an ideal place to sample wines in the comfort and privacy of La Tosca.
Unlike France and Italy, Canada does not necessarily spring immediately to mind as a destination for wine lovers, but Villa Orion is a truly inspiring villa from which to explore the 100 best wineries in Penticton, Naramata, Okanagan Falls, Oliver, Osoyoos, Summerland, Peachland, Kelowna and Vernon. Villa Orion is a luxurious, elegant modern property in British Columbia. All the wineries are located between a 3 and 90 minute drive from the property, justifying its reputation as the wine capital of Canada. There is easy access to both a concierge well versed in the top winery list and a wine tour operator. Many of the wineries have exceptional restaurants on site, including nearby cult eating spots Vanilla Pod and the Hillside Estate Winery & Bistro.
This cross-section of very different properties united in their offering of exceptional, inspiring vintages in beautiful natural settings should inspire any wine lover to make one of them the focal point of their next wine journey of discovery.
By Phileas French, Travel Writer