Cycle, cycle, sip, sigh: Eight favorite wine and bike tours
It’s that time of the year again — the trees are blooming, the grass is turning green, and some of us in the kinder climates are even stepping out on our porches to enjoy a glass of wine while we dream and plan our upcoming summer bike trips.
With cycling and wine on the brain, we asked some of our local tour operator partners around the world what their favorite bottle of wine is, and how you can sample it yourself. Here are their picks for great local wines and the tours you can enjoy them on!
Favorite wine: Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling from Ormoz Winery in NE Slovenia
Why? “Because they are fruity, fresh, typical of the variety, full and harmonious. Best enjoyed in their natural background – famous Jeruzalem hills of ‘Slovenian Tuscany‘.”
Special offer! Get 10% off self-guided Wine and Wellness in Slovenia tour!
(Discount on base package only. Valid for 2015 travel. New bookings only. Mention this offer on your booking form!)
— Sašo Skalič, Helia Tours
2. Alentejo Vineyards Color (Portugal)
Favorite wine: “The ‘Syrah da Peceguina’ from Malhadinha Nova Estate, a family wine producer from Alentejo. The wine is made with 100% Syrah and the schistous soil gives a strong, full body red wine that I love to drink on its own with friends around!”
Why: “Syrah is one of my favorite grape varieties and this wine became my favorite after a long tour, on the last day, my colleagues and I celebrated the end of the tour and all ended well enjoying a bottle of this wine all through night. Celebrating cycling and friendship!”
Why this tour pairs perfectly with the wine: “The Alentejo Vineyards Colors tour ends precisely at this family estate, which is also a country house with a few rooms and feels like you are staying at a friend’s house. At the time of harvest, we can always participate in some of the harvest activities, and even get t
o stomp on the grapes. It’s a family atmosphere and the ideal setting to finish an awesome bike tour!”
—Joana Sousa, from BikeToursPortugal
3. Garden Route to Cape Town (South Africa)
Favorite wine: Life from Stone, a Sauvignon Blanc from Springfield Estate near Robertson, Western Cape, South Africa, 150 km East of Cape Town.
Why: “I love this wine because it is a well-balanced round wine. It is very mineral rich due to the mainly quartzite rocks where it grows. This complements the taste and doesn’t oppose it, making it a very unusual wine. Only the natural wild yeast that one finds on the skin of the grapes is used for fermentation. Therefore the fermentation takes longer than in most other wines where commercial yeast is used to speed up the process. Interesting note about the vineyards: dynamite was used to blast the rocks to prepare the grounds for planting!”
Best tour to experience this wine: Garden Route to Cape Town in South Africa. They also have a 17-night version of this tour that they highly recommend.
— Jens Deister, African Bikers Tours
4. Cycling and Wine Tasting in Valle Umbra (Italy)
Favorite wine: Il Grechetto from the Tili winery in the Assisi D.o.c. area.
Why: “It is an organic winery making an excellent quality of wines. The Grechetto wine is the most important white berried grape of the green heart of Italy and the one at Tili winery is delicious!”
Toast to this: On the Cycling and Wine Tasting in Valle Umbra, it’s also possible to rent an E-bike, and to try lots of other great wonderful Umbrian wines.
–Petra de Lind van Wijngaarden, Ecologico Tours Umbria
5. Danube Bike Path (Austria, Germany)
Favorite wine: Grüner Veltliner
Why? It’s light and sweet, and easy to drink.
Special offer! On the classic 7-night Danube Bike Path from Passau to Vienna (Category B accommodations), a special wine tasting in the Wachau Valley is included in the tour cost!
(Valid for Category B accommodation packages booked through the end of April 2015. Mention this offer on your booking form.)
–Hubert Simader, Radreisefreunde
Favorite wine: A beautiful Rioja red by the name of Marques de Riscal.
Why? “It’s a fantastic wine produced in the most spectacular winery, an architectural wonder designed by Canadian architect Frank Ghery.”
Why the tour pairs perfectly with the wine: “In our Cycling to La Rioja tour you have a chance to cycle along small roads through the vineyards of this ancient winery and stop at the town of El Ciego, where the wines are produced. Spectacular!”
–Jaime Bartolomé, Senderos y Pueblos
7. Carcassonne, Languedoc, and Narbonne (France)
Favorite wine: A younger wine from the lesser known Languedoc region, the AOC “Terrasses du Larzac.”
Why? “The “Terrasses du Larzac” has an AOC certification that is grouping 30 French villages due to their unique climate, elevations, and soil. There are five types of grapes that are used in this wine that are chosen based on soil type in order to get the most out of the grape. This and a large difference of day and nighttime temperatures of almost 70°F (20°C) allows the grapes to mature slowly and steadily, making a wine that is fresh with a nice aromatic bouquet.
There’s nothing quite like having a glass at the end of the day, reflecting on your day’s ride and different experiences you’ve had along the way. Absolutely wonderful!”
Best tour to experience this wine: Carcassonne, Languedoc, and Narbonne. “This bike tour travels through St. Guilhem le Desert in the heart of Terrasses du Larzac. Apart from the wine, you’ll also discover five UNESCO World Heritage sites on this tour, leading to an unforgettable holiday while leisurely riding along on your bike. A truly great experience.”
–Chris Lucas, Active 4 Adventures
8. Best of Burgundy (France)
Favorite wine: Gevrey Chambertin, 2008, from Domaine Lucien Jacob in Burgundy
Why? “I like concentrated, rich and harmonious wines. This red Burgundy, made exclusively from pinot noir grapes, is ripe, succulent, stylish and very well balanced. Very fine.”
Best tour to experience this wine: Best of Burgundy
More details on the wine: The Domaine employs a sustainable method of production, highly respectful of the environment with minimal chemical intervention. The grapes are hand-picked, sorted, 100% de-stemmed, cold macerated for three days and fermented for 14 to 16 days. Once the fermentation has finished the red wine is aged in oak barrels (aged from new to 4 years) for up to 15 months, and the white wines are fermented in oak barrels for up to 13 months ( except for the Bourgogne Aligoté which is bottled young directly from stainless steel tanks). The wines are all bottled at the estate.
–Catherine Brossais, Active Tours