I’m thinking about some lovely red wines… dark fruit, and full-bodied… sitting in a soft chair next to a log fire. I do love the colder season for these warming experiences. Here are 5 beautiful winter vineyard properties to visit, and below are some of my wine recommendations that will best allow you to savor the delights of each winery in winter.
The Papari Winery – A Beautiful Winter Vineyard
Georgian Wines are growing in popularity, so the Papari Valley has been the beacon of Qvevri-style wine-making. The winery lies next to the village of Akhasheni in the Kakheti Region of Georgia. With 93 hectares of vines, the winery occupies a stunning vista over the Caucasus Mountains. It is the perfect opportunity to savor the almost unique influence of the rare wild yeast found in the Papari Valley.
The dark and deep ruby color is a good hint of the rich fruit of the wine. This is a full-bodied wine, so best to savor over a meal of game dishes like wild boar and mushrooms. The smooth tannins are a welcome part of this beautifully structured wine which has a long and intense ending of dark fruits and herbs. If you prefer a lighter wine, instead try the beautiful organic wine named after the wavy skyline.
Paprari Valley 3 Qvevri Terraces Chinuri-Rkatsiteli 2020 – a Winter Vineyard Favourite!
This wine is a blend of Rkatsiteli and Chinuri grapes. Fermented in the traditional Qvevri method, the wine has a deep amber appearance. The full fruit flavors are nicely balanced with the smooth tannins. The finish is long and soft, and the wine will happily rest for a good couple of years.
Castello Di Ama
Moving west into Italy, the Castello De Ama is our next stop. The 75 hectares of vines extend across four valleys, more than 400 meters above sea level.
The winery played a significant role in promoting Merlot and beat the leading merlot-based wines of France in the Academie du Vin in Switzerland, so a great winery in winter.
Sangiovese is the major component of the Haiku blend at fifty percent, followed by twenty-five percent Merlot and Cabernet Franc. The three varietals are separately vinified to allow for maximum freedom in blending. The wine has rich berry fruits, a delicate balance of herbs, and dark chocolate, so the perfect wine for a winter evening meal with hearty stews or roast beef.
With an average score of 95 you will know that you are going to enjoy a superlative blend of Sangiovese (80%) and smaller amounts of Merlot and Malvasia Nera. The smooth and refined tannins support a delicious and intense red berry fruit with a lovely influence of oak maturation, which provides a welcome hint of woodsmoke and herbs. If you would prefer a lighter red, try the Castello Di Ama Chiuso Pinot Nero 2018. A very elegant and refined Pinot from this vineyard in winter.
Moving onto Spain, Rioja Alta is the result of five local growers combining their skills to produce wines of superior quality.
Farmed organically across three hundred hectares of prime vineyards, there is a strong influence of history and tradition in the winemaking at this winery in winter. The traditional influence produces a delicately soft wine with gentle red fruits and a wonderful taste of vanilla and toasted oak. The grapes are all hand-harvested and spend thirty to thirty-six months in oak, so this is the perfect winter vineyard wine! So warming if you are skiing in winter.
La Rioja Alta Gran Reserva Vina Arana 2015 – a Winter Vineyard Gem
A small amount of Graciano is blended with Tempranillo grapes are harvested in small boxes and tank fermented before aging in American oak. The resultant blend is smooth with hints of red cherries and strawberries and an undertone of spice from the oak.
No wine tour can be complete without a French Vineyard.
Chateau de la Gardine – a French Winter Vineyard
Chateau de la Gardine and the tasting cellar at Chateauneuf du Pape have a beautiful vista over the vineyards. You can also visit the caves that store the barrels of red wine. Ideal to visit if you are maybe exploring Europe by train.
A delightful blend of Grenache, Mourvedre, and Syrah makes this a wonderfully easy-drinking wine. There’s luscious notes of ripe plums and crushed spices. This is the perfect combination of rich fruit and a Syrah-induced hint of pepper. Just perfect for a winter’s night because of these warming spices.
Chateau La Nerthe
This absolutely gorgeous Chateau offers a wide variety of tours and tastings. However, take care because the Chateau is not open on Sundays during winter, but it’s a real hidden gem in Europe.
Chateau La Nerthe Chateauneuf du Pape 2017 – a Seriously Delicious Wine from This Winery in Winter
The classic combination of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre produces a wine of intense dark red color. Aromas of ripe figs greet the nose. While on the palate, the rich berries blend with dried herbs and spices from the oak maturation. The intense fruit is well balanced with smooth tannins, which makes it a perfect companion to a meal of roast meat next to a log fire. A winter vineyard delight!
Main Image – by Mali Maeder via Pexels / 2nd Image – By Grape Things via Pexels
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