We Do More Than Tours

Rhône Wine Tours has had a fantastic year so far, and the bookings just keep rolling in (which is why this is my first blog in a long time). But one nagging question remains: why don’t more people want wine tastings?

Preparing for a tasting.

Preparing for a tasting.

I can easily understand that most people contacting us want to visit the vineyards and meet the winemakers that produce the famous wines that they’ve drunk at home. I’d want to do that, too. But while the wine tastings can’t hope to offer the same experience, they have one distinct advantage: when you’re touring you’re restricted to visiting either the northern or the southern vineyards because the distances mean it’s too difficult to do both in one day. But with a wine tasting we can flit about as much as we like, meaning that a white Crozes-Hermitage can be followed by a white Châteauneuf-du-Pape and a hearty Gigondas can sit happily alongside a tannic Cornas.

Left to Right: The fizz has been opened and there are nine wines left, including whites from Rasteau, St. Peray and Brezeme and reds from Crozes-Hermitage, Cornas, Cairanne and Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Not to mention a bit of sweet Beaumes-de-Venise.

Same venue, different tasting. From right to left: The fizz has been opened and there are nine wines left, with whites from Rasteau, St. Peray and Brezeme and reds from Crozes-Hermitage, Cornas, Cairanne, Ste. Cecile-les-Vignes and Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Not to mention a bit of sweet Beaumes-de-Venise.

In many ways you learn more than you do from touring. That said, the aim isn’t to present a lecture; it’s all about tasting great wines from the Rhône in a relaxed atmosphere and if a bit of info sinks in at the same time, well that’s great. There’s a tasting for everyone, from the enthusiastic wine drinker who knows simply that they like Côtes-du-Rhône all the way through to those of you who know the name of every vineyard in Hermitage.

There is another advantage that tastings have, and one not to be sniffed at – price. The starting price for a tour for two people is 240€, whereas we offer tastings for up to ten people from 120€. That’s as little as 12€ per head for a tasting that could include say Châteauneuf, Gigondas and St. Joseph as well as great Côtes-du-Rhône and CdR Villages. And if you want to taste only the most exclusive wines (although not at 120€, sadly) well we can lay on a tasting of Côte-Rôtie, Hermitage and Châteauneuf  (or just about anything else you fancy) that will please the most demanding of palates. One recent tasting of northern Rhone wines included a comparison of two Condrieu, red and white St. Joseph, red and white Hermitage, Côte-Rôtie, Cornas, Crozes-Hermitage and St. Péray. Not a bad little line-up.

The theme this time was wines from the Drome. Starting from the left: Clairette-de-Die, Coteaux des Baronnies, Brezeme, Coteaux des Baronnies, two Crozes-Hermitage, Brezeme, two Vinsobres. The interloper, a sweet red Rasteau, was served with Valrhone chocolate, also from the Drome.

The theme this time was wines from the Drome. Starting from the left: Clairette-de-Die, Coteaux des Baronnies, Brezeme, Coteaux des Baronnies, two Crozes-Hermitage, Brezeme, two Vinsobres. The interloper, a sweet red Rasteau (not in shot), was served with Valrhona chocolate, also from the Drome.

We even leave the opened bottles with you. So you’re not just paying for the teeny samples that most tastings supply, you’re getting whole bottles for your money. I did the maths recently on one of the tastings: 130€ had paid for ten different wines, 10 bottles, for an English group and that if those wines, or their nearest available equivalents, had been bought in the UK the cost would have been more than the just-over £100 we were charging. In other words, the group had bought ten lovely wines and my services were essentially a free added bonus.

Ah, you may say, but I don’t have the facilities to run a tasting. That’s why we turn up with everything you need – the wines, obviously; proper tasting glasses; tasting sheets; pens; maps; a decanter and spittoon; even our own corkscrew, just in case (although the thought of a wine drinker not having a corkscrew on hand is, admittedly, a bit remote). And if you want to do a bit of cheese and wine matching, we’ll bring along artisan bread and fromage. And plates, knives and napkins.

Sadly, I have to spit.

Sadly, I have to spit.

The only thing we don’t supply is the space. It doesn’t take a lot – this year we’ve sat around tables under trees, by the sides of pools, in dining rooms, in living rooms – but it probably does require a holiday home or some form of rented accommodation rather than a hotel room.

I would invite you round to my place but that would mean you drinking and driving, which is never a good idea. So hopefully see you soon at yours.

Santé,

Paul

Note: This is the blog of Rhône Wine Tours. Maybe if we’d called ourselves Rhône Wine Tastings the take-up might be better. You can read all about our tours and TASTINGS! on our website – www.RhoneWineTours.com – and you can follow us on Facebook, where there are lots of photographs and shorter pieces. Just click on the links.

 

 

Comments are closed.