7 Culinary stops while wine tasting
Wine tasting tours are quite a rage in Europe, especially in Italy where most of the vineyards are located. Every year people flock to these places in search of a real vineyard wine experience.
From Viagrande in Sicily in the east to Linguaglossa in Mt. Etna in the north – the choice is endless. Whether you are backpacker on a solo tour or a group of oldies traveling the world, a vineyard tour with a local wine specialist is an experience to look forward.
No matter how tired they are, people on a European tour never miss this. Even if that means chucking the luggage racks of your bike for a trek down the narrow alleys of vineyards and taking a detour of your designated place of attraction.
So here’s a list of 7 such wine tasting stops which you can’t afford to miss.
1. Benanti Winery, Viagrande
Located in the foothills of Mt. Etna in Sicily, this place has an excellent team to give you the finest wine tasting experience.
Image: The Thinking Traveller
They will carefully take you through the wine tasting process addressing your queries and offering a congenial wine and food pairing which is nothing short of brilliance.
It's well known for their culinary repertoire and offers a wide spread of options like Greek, Italian, Spanish and North American delicacies which contain indigenous locally grown pork, lamb, seafood and ricotta cheese.
A wine tasting tour here takes about 1 hour 30 min and if you want to stay, nice cozy rooms are available in their pristine village flavour paired with modern amenities.
2. Gambino Winery :
Their mantra is to share the passion of “Wine, grapes, and laughter”.
It’s perched on the side of Mt. Etna and overlooks the Mediterranean Sea. It’s one of the most celebrated wineries of Italy and the most visited for the rich culinary experience.
Whether it's the exquisite meat options or fresh veggies like tomatoes, olives in your Italian and European dishes, it goes well with the wines. You can taste as many varieties as you want of the 25 available.
They curate special events, workshops, festivals along with some local sightseeing like visiting the villagers, trekking etc.
It’s here you learn the tricks of winemaking. Maybe then you can understand the hard labor that goes into the making of something like your favorite wine or even a single scotch malt Macallan 18 which takes 18 years to prepare.
3. Tenuta Delle Terre Nere Vineyards :
An offbeat place often missed by tourists. This hamlet lies a few minutes drive from the Randazzo town. There are art studios in the vicinity.
The place remains hidden and untouched by the Mt. Etna’s wrath and hence retains its primitive beauty. You can have your breakfast in town and take a 20 min ride to reach this vineyard.
They have been doing business for 30 years now and have added a stunning repertoire with a good view and vineyards flanked by olive trees.
The rustic flavor of the place gets you as you see churches build on lava rocks as you move past the narrow alleys. Here you will get a light lunch paired with one of the most primitive ways of winemaking.
A quaint little town situated a few kilometers from Randazzo has one of the Bordeaux blends of wines. They make the most celebrated wines in Italy. In fact, the Solicchiata wines are quite famous for its intrinsic flavor and blend.
With its fast flowing rivers and an altitude of 750m makes it a viable place for adventure tourism such as trekking, river rafting, horseback riding etc.
The culinary experience goes hand-in-hand with the place as a range of delicious cuisines are at your disposal.
Get hold of the master Frank Cornelissen who will take you through the process of grape testing, picking and finally making them into wine. The grape variety here is very different from others and it holds the key.
This discussion and tasting season is the key to winemaking art and once you are done with this you can choose your wine pairings wisely. So, no more mishaps. By the time you end the session, you will know what goes well with a driftless glen bourbon.
5. Passopisciaro Winery
This place is a boutique winery in Castiglione di Sicilia. It’s one of the finest boutiques of wine in Italy. This place has huge gravel rock from the 1947 volcanic eruption which is a star attraction.
A rustic looking boutique which has all the old school elements of winemaking as well as some new adventures. The food scene is quite robust with ample variety.
Image: Spirited Singapore
The Tuscan winemaking branches are found here which makes it quite familiar with the tourists.
6. Cottanera Winery
Found in the northern part of Mt. Etna, this one is in a league of its own.
It's a beautifully aligned vineyard with homely accommodation and conjugal staff who takes care of your dining experience.
Generally, large groups are accommodated together on the table who are served the best of the world cuisines.
The tasting, discussion and trips to winery are a hands down experience. You can even get to learn some cooking skills.
It is also an internationally acclaimed brand which a distinct way of wine culturing and winemaking which is done over a lava stone. This adds to its flavor and vigor.
7. Tenute Chiuse Del Signore
Situated on a hilltop in Linguaglossa, this is a family run winery and vineyard. They are in business from the 20th century and have been producing the finest wines and olive oils.
Image: Matrimonio Di Sicillia
If you want a friendly homely amicable atmosphere where you can learn the craft at your own pace, then this is the place for you.
Situated at a height of 550m, it's often called a lazy vineyard. However, they do have luxury of an ethereal view of the Alcantara river valley and the golden beaches of Taormina.
The hillock is closer to Benanti vineyards and lies within the Etna Natural Park area which makes it a good place of nature and wildlife enthusiasts.
They offer similar kind of culinary experience like Benanti which includes special events, cooking sessions, festivals etc.
These are the places to visit on a wine-tasting tour in Italy.
She is a blogger who loves to write especially in Beverages vertical. She co-authored Supercharge Organic Traffic: A popular course focusing on Organic Traffic for Ecommerce.. Her hobbies are travelling and reading novels.