Romance, escape, celebration. Throughout history, this holy trinity often come with the familiar “pop”. The sound of effervescence and luxury: a champagne bottle fizzing into life, or an aged velvety red taking its first breath. Wine lovers on the hunt for gastronomic pleasure can do no wrong heading to the fertile soils of Europe, where the views are swoon-inducing, the hotels are magical and the vineyards produce some of the best grapes in the world. Want us to whet your appetite? Let’s start with these five wine hotels in Europe.
1. L´Unicorno: Brescia, Italy
The grapes don’t travel far to reach your taste buds at L’Unicorno – your hosts harvest them in the hotel’s 16th-century cellar itself. Made with red Groppello grapes (the most famous vine in the Brescia area of Lake Garda), the fragrant wines are produced with passion and dedication. Book a table in the Chiocciola restaurant, picking at cold cuts, Alpine Valley cheeses and dishes drizzled in the hotel’s very own extra virgin olive oil. The expert team will happily suggest a bottle to accompany.
2. Villa Le Barone: Panzano, Italy
Panzano in Chianti
There’s a lengthy history of wine-making in Chianti – and you’re in no better hands than with the hosts of Villa Le Barone. The historic villa hasn’t changed much since Renaissance times – in fact, it improves with age. As does the wine. You’re in walking distance to many a winery and close to Panzano, a small town famous for its vino. But don’t feel like you need to wander far – you can sip a glass of the good stuff from the hotel’s infinity pool, overlooking the very vineyards its grapes were harvested in.
3. Sierakow Manor: Dobczyce, Poland
Owner and head sommelier at Sierakow Manor – Pawel Gasiorek – will match sumptuous dishes to the hotel’s corker of a wine list. It’s the largest in the Malopolska region, with 350 varieties, and Pawel is the best person in the region to taste them with – having worked as a global wine judge with his own wine business for 20 years. Refreshing whites, big, bold reds, local classics and rare delights – there’s a tipple whatever your taste. Make sure you sample the vino from Wieliczka winery (just 5km from Sierakow Manor), as well as the Uruguayan Tannats and Australian Shirazes. Have fun getting to know each glass and its personality before retiring to you refined room for the night – a peaceful slumber in the wooded hills of Dobczyce.
4. Ermioni Estate: Ermioni, Greece
Ermioni – a quaint seaside town on the eastern coast of the Peloponnese – is a lovely, lazy slice of Mediterranean life. Make Ermioni Estate your rustic Greek home – all high ceilings, salmon-pink paint and period furniture – with exclusive hire.Since you’re nestled into a 5.5-acre estate of vineyards, the local larder is yours for the picking. Live like a local, sipping Mediterranean wines on open-air terraces under the shade of centuries-old pine trees. Scour traditional Greek recipe books & whip up an alfresco lunch at your leisure, or hire the daily maid service to have beautiful meals exclusively prepared for you.
5. Chasa de Capol: Sta-Maria/Müstair, Switzerland
This eclectic wine hotel in Europe crafts its own South Tyrolean bottles, which can be savoured among the soft breezes of Chasa de Capol’s garden restaurant. Full of eclectic treasures, the former abbey from 1199 has plenty of flair without losing a hint of homeliness. Albert Hoffmann, the inventor of the LSD once wrote in the hotel’s guest book: “Here you experience magic moments without having to eat hallucinogenic mushrooms before.” Maybe just stick to wine…