Good wine with good company will always be among life’s greatest pleasures. Add to this the right ambiance, and you make a fine blend extraordinarily better. And while drinking wine by a vineyard will always top the bill for luxurious and romantic wine sampling, wine country is not always accessible. But this doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a glass of your favorite bubbly in class and style elsewhere.
We will talk about some unexpected and delightfully charming places where you can indulge in an unforgettable wine experience. From the dizzying rooftops of London to the peaceful solitude of the Mekong to the glam and glitz of Beverly Hills, we’ve collated five incredible destinations wine lovers would love.
Yes, the Big Smoke has more to offer than cocktails, gin, and beer. Compared to its neighbor Paris, London is a little late to the wine-drinking scene. However, it is catching up pretty quickly. Now, you can find some of the most impressive bottles of reds and whites in bars, pubs, and cafes, not just at fancy and sometimes overpriced restaurants. Then, there is also a growing enthusiasm for new wine regions and a curious fascination with unconventional varietals.
So, where to drink? If you’re looking for somewhere laid-back and cozy with a varied choice of mouthwatering tapas-style fare, head to 10 Cases. Go to 67 Pall Mall to splurge on its iconic older vintages. Or visit Antidote for its almost exclusively organic and biodynamic blends. Also, check out Noble Rot Soho, Diogenes the Dog, 40 Maltby Street, and the Drapers Arms.
If you want to treat yourself to something truly memorable, indulge in the finest drinks at a rooftop bar at The Shard, the UK’s tallest building. It would be pricy, but the 360-degree views of London’s famous landmarks and the joy of sipping a glass of chilled champagne on a warm evening are well worth the price.
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High-end boutiques and luxury retail experiences are synonymous with Beverly Hills. But the city is more than just a shopper’s paradise. It’s also an iconic destination for lovers of avant-garde cuisine and fabulous bars eager to serve serious wine connoisseurs and casual sippers with a comprehensive option of classic and rare varietals. After all, when it comes to wine, this glitzy city is open-minded and bohemian. You can delight in locally-grown Californian blends or sample something more unconventional from a budding winegrower. You can even have a glass or two at a completely unexpected location. Think, wine at your bookstore, nail salon, repair shop, even grocery store. But if you are looking for something genuinely extravagant, try sipping a glass of champagne while partaking in luxury shopping.
For those who want to relax after a long day, Beverly Hills does not disappoint. Go to Bar Nineteen12 if you are looking for a cozy but chic place to meet for drinks. Head to CUT Lounge after a stroll down Rodeo Drive or visit Heritage Fine Wines for good music while nursing a glass of your favorite vintage. Wally’s Beverly Hills will amaze you with its impressive collection of caviar, cheese, and chocolate, along with an extensive 60-page wine menu. Other places to check out are the Cheese Store, Jean-Georges at Waldorf Astoria, Maude Restaurant, Spago, and the Polo Lounge at the Beverly Hills Hotel.
The Mekong River
Sometimes you find the best kind of luxury away from the bustling city, in a place that’s peacefully quiet and stunningly exotic. A cruise in the breathtaking Mekong River can easily be one of the most indulgent gifts you can give yourself, operators such as Rainforest Cruises can facilitate this. This cultural odyssey takes you on an immersive journey through the magnificent sceneries of Cambodia and Vietnam, passing riverside villages, vibrant floating markets, and incredible landscapes.
If it is a taste of homegrown flavors you crave, the trips feature a selection of hearty and delectable authentic local cuisine. While beverage policies differ from one cruise liner to another, the more established companies offer packages that include excellent wines. Typically, drinks come with lunch or dinner, but most high-end vessels have a bar that serves spirits outside of mealtime. Some liners even allow guests to bring their own bottles, which may be subject to additional cost. Regardless, sipping a glass of your favorite blend while watching the incredible views pass by is a feast to the senses.
There’s something about spectacular views that make your wine experience distinctly awe-inspiring. Bangkok understands this, and the Thai capital makes the most of it with its extensive choices of rooftop bars and restaurants. But none of these deserve the hype as much as the Sky Bar at Lebua State Tower. Suspended 250 meters above colorful city lights and with a striking vista of the Chao Praya River, Sky Bar is one of the most iconic places for wine lovers who want to enjoy a glass of bubbly champagne, crisp whites, or silky reds.
But if heights make you jittery, Bangkok has a bunch of other chic and elegant venues to explore. If you believe smooth jazz and cigars go well with a bottle of sweet tannins, go to the Wine Loft. DiVino features sumptuous Italian delicacies and a collection of over 300 blends, while Wine Connection highlights fusion cuisine and imported exclusive vintages. Also, check out Attitude Wine Bar and Bistro, Wine Pub, and Wolf Grill Wine Bar.
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The wine regions of Bordeaux and Burgundy tend to get more spotlight from wine travelers. Yet the province of Champagne, where the famous sparkling white wine originated, absolutely deserves more than a day trip from Paris. Miles and miles of lush vineyards and intriguing wine-making history prompted UNESCO to include Champagne’s hillsides, houses and cellars on the World Heritage List. And if visiting renowned wineries isn’t enough to tickle your fancy, the opportunity to sample exceptional bubbly while luxuriating in countryside tranquility might do.
When in Champagne, the most popular places to stay are Reims and Epernay. Reims is the region’s largest city and has traditional champagne houses, luxurious hotels, and fascinating landmarks. Epernay, on the other hand, hosts the prestigious Avenue de Champagne. This kilometer-long street of chalk cellars houses millions of bottles of the coveted sparkling wine, making it one of the most expensive lanes in the world.
If you want to treat yourself to a perfect mix of style and luxury, rent a French villa in the vineyard countryside and enjoy the best views and finest drinks Champagne has to offer.
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