Everlasting love: Chardonnay grape variety

Chardonnay is Burgundy’s most successful – and famous – viticultural export. Although for a while, the Burgundians would like to claim dominion over this inimitably fashionable grape, it is very much a global phenomenon. From Sonoma Valley to Australia’s Margaret River, the world is full of premium Chardonnay wines. This is partly because, unlike Pinot […]

The mystery of Bourboulenc

The enigmatic Bourboulenc has yet to reveal its secrets; its geographical origins are the subject of a fierce debate, while its genetic ancestry remains a mystery. Moreover, we cannot be sure how and when Bourboulenc was introduced to the South of France, and is now cultivated by a small number of growers across the wider […]

Burgundy’s other white grape:Aligoté

Many collectors believe, not unreasonably, that Chardonnay is the sole genius behind the magnificent white wines of Burgundy. From the Premier Crus of Chablis to the iconic vineyards of Puligny-Montrachet, only one white grape is allowed under the appellation rules. Yet this corner of France has long held a closely guarded secret. A surprising volume […]

Guide to French Red Wine

Key French Red Grapes by Wine Region France is a conundrum. As the world’s viticultural map continues to expand and change at an unprecedented rate, the birthplace of fine wine appears to be sleeping. The global wine industry has witnessed a series of tectonic movements over the past 20 years: The rise of social media […]

Petit Verdot rises from obscurity

The term ‘Bordeaux blend’ has become synonymous with the region’s iconic – and widely exported – recipe for making powerfully structured red wine. Every oenophile can recite the formula in a heartbeat: mix varying proportions of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot to make something far greater than the sum of its parts. But there […]

Malbec’s voyage of rediscovery

Loved by consumers everywhere, Malbec has become synonymous with cultural – or is that viticultural? – appropriation. Once prolific across several major French regions, this much-loved red grape was introduced to South America in the 19th century. The rest, as they say, is history; the area under vine exploded in Argentina in the late 1900s, […]

A mover and shaker: Mourvèdre

Is Mourvèdre a noble red grape variety or a dirty little secret? To some growers, this recherché varietal is an essential part of the viticultural landscape in the southern Rhone, adding structure and ‘fire’ to the quintessential GSM (Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre) blends that have made its reputation. Others loathe Mourvèdre and will happily list […]

The third variety: Pinot Meunier

Blending different grape varieties (assemblage) is the lifeblood of the Champagne region. The skill required is unparalleled – an experienced winemaker can transform a collection of thin and acidic base wines into a complex, rich, and elegant sparkling wine. Today, most Champagne (excluding mono-varietal styles like Blanc de Blancs) is composed of a blend of […]

From workhorse to revival: Cinsault

Like many so-called ‘workhorse’ grape varieties of the Mediterranean, Cinsault does not boast a proud history. Indeed, there are many parallels with Carignan, another red grape that was routinely derided in the 20th century; relatively easy to grow, Cinsault maintained a presence in vineyards across the Southern Rhone and Languedoc for one simple reason. Namely, […]

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir excites, enthralls, and disappoints in equal measure. It is responsible for some of the most hauntingly beautiful wines on earth, including the Burgundy Grand Crus of La Tache, Chambertin, and La Romanée Conti. Collectors will pay almost any price for an opportunity to sample this legendary wine – bottles of Domaine de la […]

The ultimate divider: Gamay Noir

First division grape variety or frivolous quaffing material? No other wine style divides consumer (and critical) opinion quite like Gamay, the signature red grape of the Beaujolais region in Burgundy. Of course, it has its share of proponents; some see great virtue in the Gamay grape’s easy drinkability and attractive fruitiness, while others deride Gamay […]

Cabernet Franc steps into the spotlight

It is not easy to deliver a concise and definitive synopsis of Cabernet Franc. Some would describe the red grape variety as a close relative of Merlot; relatively soft and accessible, it has less tannin than Cabernet Sauvignon and consequently lacks the imposing structure of Bordeaux’s number-one grape. Yet Cabernet Franc is more resistant to […]

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Cellar Tours Private Luxury Food & Wine Tours

Cellar Tours

Cellar Tours is a Luxury Travel Specialist, operating since 2003 and offering exclusive Mercedes chauffeured Gourmet Vacations in Chile, France, Italy, Ireland, Portugal, South Africa, and Spain. We specialize in luxurious custom designed vacations, events and incentives related to food and wine. We are proud members of Slow Food, UNAV (Travel Agency Association in Spain), and the IACP (International Association of Culinary Professionals).

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