Can you imagine a Christmas or New Year party without a glass of bubbles? If not, where does your festive fizz come from? Holiday Lettings cracks open the best bottles of bubbly, celebrating everything from the vineyards of the Veneto to the Cava wineries of Catalonia.
Sparkling Wine From Cornwall, Uk
Once one of the wine world’s biggest jokes, English sparkling wines are now having the last laugh. As you sit on the multi-award winning Camel Valley Vineyard’s terrace sipping a glass of fizz you’ll know why. Annie Lindo has pruned her 500 vines alone here for nearly 25 years – definitely worth raising a glass to.
You could join the Camel Trail at the bottom of the vineyard; one way leads you to Rick Stein’s Seafood Restaurant in pretty Padstow and the other to the breathtaking scenery of Bodmin Moor. Alternatively, scramble among the haunting ruins of nearby Tintagel Castle, reputedly the birthplace of King Arthur, and visit Merlin’s Cave.
Cava From Catalonia, Spain
Ever fancied making your own wine? You can create your own Cava at Catalonia’s Art Cava winery. Select your favourite blend, then grab your gloves and visor ready to remove the sediment. Once you’ve bottled it, why not design the label and choose the name? Oh, and you finally get to sample it (for quality control purposes of course). Cheers!
You could conduct further taste tests at nearby Barcelona’s terrific xampanyerias (champagne bars): El Xampanyet is excellent, and on the same road as the fantastic Picasso Museum. For masterpieces from El Greco to Dalí, you could also try the National Art Museum of Catalonian Art. It wouldn’t be a proper trip to Barcelona without marvelling at the stunning Sagrada Familia cathedral too.
Prosecco from the Veneto, Italy
The vineyards of the Prosecco region stretch before you as you walk down its picturesque country lanes. You might catch the sing-song of a waterfall beside a quaint mill or take in atmospheric churches and ancient abbeys. Simply drop by a winery on your way to view their presses and fermentation rooms. When you’re done, why not sip the goodies al fresco with a hunk of delicious asiago cheese?
Vicenza is another lovely place to stop and soak up the area’s chilled atmosphere. It is home to the world’s oldest surviving stage set at the Teatro Olimpico, where you might be able to catch a concert. You could also head just outside the city to La Rotonda villa and admire its perfect proportions and gorgeous frescoes.
Champagne from Champagne, France
Here’s to Nicolas Ruinart, who founded the first Champagne house in 1729. The party’s still going strong and you can visit the House of Ruinart today. The imposing cellars are some of the biggest in the region, stretching out for 8km over three levels.
Nearby Reims is well worth a visit too. You can wander around the cathedral and imagine the opulent coronations hosted here. Afterwards, why not head to the Halles du Boulingrin, an Art Deco food market, and stock up on locally produced treats? Do try and find the regional speciality Cendré de Champagne, a creamy, smoky cheese matured in beech ash.
Sparkling wine from Napa Valley, USA
Jump aboard the Napa Valley Wine Train and see abundant vineyards roll past. Do you see a Tuscan-style fortress, the Castello di Amorosa, perched on top of the hill? Inside it you can walk from the Grand Barrel Room to the Chapel and Great Hall. The picturesque courtyard is the perfect place to sip a glass of La Fantasia, a softly sparkling wine from the estate’s 30 acres of vineyards.
Rehydrate afterwards with a trip to the springs and geysers of Calistoga, a town famous for the mineral water that has been bottled here since the 1920s. You could also luxuriate in one of its famous hot-mud baths, made with volcanic ash from nearby Mount St Helena. Why not treat yourself to a shopping trip to St Helena’s chic boutiques or the vibrant stalls of Napa’s Oxbow Public Market?