Taking a break from working out what Brexit, deal or no deal, means for us in 2019, I thought I would indulge myself in some happy memories of our 2018 tours (and puddings).
Our tour season started in Provence in April, and we enjoyed superb weather as we explored the amazing diversity of wines this rather undiscovered (wine-wise) region has to offer. We returned in June, for rather less clement weather, but still enjoyed great visits, a masterclass or two in branding and of course some wonderful wines.
Following the success of the 2017 tours, we returned to Sicily in May, for two tours, both of which were hugely enjoyable, and verified, that like Provence, Sicilian wine achieves quality and freshness that its reputation as a hot holiday destination belies.
Sandwiched between Sicily and Provence was our return tour to Slovenia, a mega tour of 35 people which required us to split the group each day across two buses, one led by Fliss and the other by me. We came together each day for lunch, and I hope you enjoy the video of our first day in the Maribor hills, which I think rather nicely sums up what is involved in my tours.
Six years after our first tour to northern Spain, we returned in in June, visiting the regions of Rueda, Toro, Cigales and of course Ribera del Duero. Another tour of surprises – in addition to the reds we were expecting to enjoy, we discovered fresh, aromatic white wines, fabulous cuisine, some superb art and of course natural flora and fauna.
Our first Autumn tour took us around the Golden Triangle of Champagne, Chablis and Sancerre, which revealed fascinating similarities and contrasts between wines grown on Kimmeridgian Marl!
Two tours to Jerez confirmed what a fantastic wine sherry is, but requires far more spitting out than my normal tours for people to remain awake for the entire day. We also sampled some great light wines from the region, and in a first for a Tim Syrad Wine Tour enjoyed the unique combination of sherry, tapas and flamenco!
Our final tour, a weekend of Piemonte gastronomy and wine took us to Alba in the middle of the truffle festival, and the final visit of the year was to my all time favourite winery, Marenco. Their warmth of welcome sums up what my tours are about, and I look forward to returning there many times in the future.
My thanks to everyone who came on tour with me in 2018. Everyone coming on tour with me in 2019 is in for a treat (there are several blogs describing what’s in store), but it’s been rather nice to indulge in some great memories of our 2018 wine and culinary adventures.