There’s nothing more revitalizing than going on a weekend getaway with someone special, with cares tucked away and drinks at the ready. But just as there is a wine for every occasion, there is also a wine for every getaway. Whether you’re cruising the waterways of Oxford or lounging at a luxury hotel in London, we’ve got the right blend for you. Talk about perfect pairings! Get ready for a romantic weekend getaway, and don’t forget the wine.
Brightwell Red on a Canal Boat Trip Around Oxford
About eight miles south of Oxford and adjoining part of the River Thames lies the 16-acre Brightwell Vineyard. The estate grows eight varieties of grapes and produces award-winning rosé, red and white wines using natural methods.
It only fits that a homegrown, silky red is the perfect choice for a dreamy UK-based weekend canal trip on the canals of Oxford. Sip a glass of light-bodied wine as your narrowboat winds through quaint English villages and the scenic stretch of serene countryside. Or, dock at a canal-side brasserie to savor your favorite blend. Better yet, spread your picnic mat on a lovely meadow and enjoy the view as you drink.
Take your pick between fruity and fully dry Oxford Regatta or delicate and elegant Pinot Noir. Barrel-aged, the Oxford Regatta has a long, dry finish which suggests summer berries combined with the flavors of raspberry, damson, and cherry. You can drink it on its own or as a partner to many dishes, particularly lamb. On the other hand, the Pinot Noir is redolent of cherry and currant. The wine has a soft and supple texture with subtle tannins and hints of spice in its lingering aftertaste. It goes nicely with all meats and cheese but also drinks well on its own.
But don’t let the vino get into your head (at least not yet). There is so much to see as your ride glides past the awe-inspiring spires of Oxford and along the university’s famous regatta course to Folly Bridge, Christchurch College, the village of Iffley, and the picturesque Port Meadow on the northern borders of the city. The canal hosts a wealth of wildlife, and if you’re in luck, you might spot the endangered water vole.
Rioja to go with Paella on a UK Camping Trip
There’s nothing like a glass of Rioja to quench your thirst on a camping retreat. This world-renowned Spanish wine ranges from light to full-bodied and tastes like dark berries and cherries, plum, herbs and smoke. Because of its straightforward fruit flavors and typically high acidity and tannins, Rioja wines are an excellent accompaniment for various dishes, including, surprisingly, seafood.
Speaking of food, why not pair Spain’s favorite dish with its most favorite wine? A younger Rioja Crianza is perfect with seafood paella because of its milder acidity and red and black fruit finish. While heartier Rioja Reserva, with its subtle hints of cinnamon, floral spice and tobacco, is best with meat paella.
Now that you have the wine, it’s time to pick the perfect place to pitch your tent. Head to the Lake District in Cumbria to experience a genuine sense of escapism. With its scenic views, the Lake District is a haven for campers and glampers but is never in shortage of restaurants that serve some of the best paella (and Rioja) in the UK.
For somewhere more lowkey, drive to Finchingfield in Essex and enjoy romantic wildflower and lavender walks, or visit Norfolk for adventurous canal camping. Go all the way to Northumberland for the ultimate woodland escapade, or Pembrokeshire for untouched natural beauty in a remote setting.
Welsh White Wine on a Motorhome Trip to Wales
A bottle of crisp white wine and a weekend of highway cruising makes for a memorable bonding experience. As long as you don’t drink and drive, of course! A road trip to Wales, partnered with hiring a luxury motorhome, is full of pleasant surprises – rustic villages and windswept beaches suddenly come into view, and yes, long stretches of vineyards too. From the plains of Pembrokeshire to the island of Anglesey, to the rolling countryside of Powys and the slopes of Monmouthshire.
Due to its cooler climate, Wales is ideal for growing grape varieties suitable for white wine, although, in recent years, it produces impressive reds and pinks. In general, Welsh whites are dry on the palate, with fresh acidity, notes of ripe citrus fruits and a lingering spicy finish. The aroma is almost always floral but also tastes of peach, nectarine, orange blossoms. Welsh whites pair nicely with pasta, poultry, salads, dessert and seafood, of which Wales has plenty.
While you’re on a trip, don’t forget to drop by some of the country’s lovely landmarks, including Snowdonia National Park, the Blue Lagoon in Abereiddy Beach, Cardigan Bay, Cenarth Falls, the coastal town of Fishguard, Strumble Head Light House, and the UK’s smallest city, St. David. That’s probably too many to see in a weekend getaway, but who says you couldn’t visit again?
Champagne in a Luxury Hotel in London
Sometimes, getaways do not mean you have to get away from the city. Believe it or not, you can find relaxation in the chaos of the city. After all, no other place takes luxury as seriously as London. Nurse a glass of Dom Pérignon at the terrace of Four Seasons, relish Ruinart at Shangri-La Hotel at The Shard, or sip Veuve Clicquot Grande Dame on your afternoon tea at Rosewood Hotel. If you want your accommodations to be equally chic and historic, book a weekend break at the Courthouse Hotel.
Champagne has a creamy, soft and mellow mouthfeel with crisp apple, citrus, cherry and peach flavors. Some have hints of biscuit, bread, brioche, and toast. And while this sparkling wine typically pairs with hors d’oeuvres or dessert, it plays well with almost all sorts of dishes. Blanc de Blancs, made entirely from white grapes, are best paired with caviar, oysters, pasta, and light fish. Brut or dry champagne is excellent with steak and white truffle, while extra-brut is a good partner of lobster and roasted chicken.
Sherry on a Christmassy Train Trip Around Scotland
Spectacular Scotland becomes even more spectacular at Christmas. Experience an exhilarating tour from enchanting Edinburgh, across the iconic Forth Bridge, around the mystical Scottish Highlands and through the towering Cairngorms mountains on a railway or bus trip. Stopover in Inverness to see festive Christmas lights illuminate the city and shoppers loitering about at night markets. Some luxury train tours offer visits to medieval castles, distilleries, private estates and stunning lochs.
On your journey, feast on gastronomic delights made from the freshest local ingredients and prepared on board by skilled chefs. And because the holiday season is time for hearty food, we recommend a hearty drink, too. Think of something dark, warm, robust and fortified, like Sherry. Contrary to stereotypes, sherry is so much more than a cooking wine. It comes in various styles, from light and sweet to dry and intense, and most types have dried fruit, nutty and saline flavors.
Are you already planning a pre-Christmas weekend getaway? You can never go wrong with a scenic railway trip and a bottle of sherry on hand.