One of the best things about taking a European river cruise is that you get to sail through some fantastic wine regions. From the Mosel to Bordeaux and from the banks of the Douro to Provence, there are so many great places in which to taste a tipple of two.
Some of Europe’s wine ports are better known than others, though. For example, if you were to arrive in Pauillac or St. Emilion you would know exactly what to expect, whereas in other places it would be far less evident. Here are some of the best European wine ports that you may not be aware of.
The Mosel wine region is one of Europe’s best, but few people know that Bernkastel is the ideal place in which to taste its renowned Rieslings. This historic market town is home to a wine museum, holds an annual wine festival in September and lies within beautiful vineyard-ladened surroundings. It is the steep banks and slate-filled soil which make the grapes grown here so sought after and the finished product such a highlight of our Moselle river cruises.
Whilst grape varieties such as pinot noir, sauvignon and merlot are some of the most recognised in the world, it is the more obscure, indigenous varieties that make this next region so great. Tokaj is a small Hungarian town that can be visited on our Tisza river cruises and which lies in the centre of the Tokaj wine region. There are seven in total throughout Hungary but this one has held UNESCO World Heritage status since 2002. Many different types of wine are produced here, but it is Tokaj Aszú which has earnt a name for itself on the world stage. This super-sweet dessert tipple is the oldest wine in existence which is brought about with the help of botrytis, a favourable form of rot.
Porto may be the most popular place to sample a glass of port wine, but it is actually Pinhão which lies at the heart of the Douro wine region. There are plenty of Quintas (estates) here, each of which possesses various vineyards that start from the river’s edge and climb all the way up the steep sides of the gorge. As well as the more popular red port wine, there will be an opportunity to try some white port too, which is often accompanied by some delicious chocolates that are made in-house. All of this ensures your Douro river cruise will be a very decadent trip.
Depending on which way round you choose to do it; a visit to Avignon will either come at the beginning or end of a Rhone river cruise. Most famous, perhaps, for a song about one of its bridges, the city is also known for being the perfect place in which to drink wines from Châteauneuf-du-Pape. This wine-growing region is located to the north of Avignon and produces some of the most prized and expensive red wines on the planet. The name translates to mean ‘The Pope’s new castle’ and the region has played a key role in Papal history.
If you would like to visit any of these wine ports, we have a wide range of river cruises available which can take you there. Call us today or submit an online enquiry to receive a tailor-made quote.