As the days get longer (and hopefully warmer – fingers crossed everyone) we’re looking forward to hazy evenings spent sipping wine until well after sunset. The summer months promise perfect conditions for al fresco dinners and tasting tours of wine country, so there’s no better time to book one of our luxury villa holidays in Europe. Here’s our guide to the must-try wines of the continent – and the best places to sample them.

France: Sip Sancerre in the Loire Valley

Chateau De Vezins - Loire Valley - Villas in France with Private Pool - Oliver's Travels

Chateau De La Porte, Loire Valley – Oliver’s Travels

As you’ve probably worked out, this beloved white varietal is produced on the eastern end of the Loire Valley in the Sancerre region. Make the most of your tour by comparing terroirs : clay and limestone (white soils), limestone and gravel (small stones) and flinty silex are the three main soil profiles, determining if a wine will be a citrus sipper or herbaceous and richly textured.

Croatia: Taste rich reds at BIBICh

Villa Morro - Croatia - Luxury Villas in Croatia - Oliver's Travels

Villa Morro, Croatia – Oliver’s Travels

After a visit from Anthony Bourdain, this might be one of the best known Dalmatian wine producers. Vintner Alen Bibić specialises in bold red varietals, so book in for the winery’s multi-course tasting menu to sample some of the bigger blends, paired with traditional Croatian dishes. The Skradin risotto is a highlight, but you might not want to try recreating it at home – it takes up to 12 hours to cook.

England: Explore sparkling Sussex

Waterside House – Sussex – Oliver’s Travels

Made famous by critically acclaimed producers Nyetimber, Sussex sparkling wine is paving the way for the growth of English viticulture. The region is also home to one of England’s longest-established wineries – stop by the curiously named Breaky Bottom, tucked away beyond a dusty rural pathway in the South Downs, for a tour and complimentary tasting session.

Italy: Discover Dolcetto in Piedmont

Villa Sonni - Italian Lakes - Holiday Rentals Italy - Oliver's Travels

Villa Sonni, Italian Lakes – Oliver’s Travels

Don’t judge Piedmontese wines on image alone – when it comes to Dolcetto, names can be deceiving. It’s often overlooked in favour of the more masculine sounding powerhouse, Barolo, but this balanced, complex varietal pairs perfectly with pasta dishes – and is light enough to sip on its own while lounging around your luxury villa.

Spain: Sample the joys of Jerez

Palacio Quintana - Andalusia - Luxury Villas Spain - Oliver's Travels

Palacio Quintana, Andalusia – Oliver’s Travels

When you think of Spanish wine, it’s probably Tempranillo that comes to mind – but in Andalusia, you’re better off pairing your tapas with sherry, or jerez. It’s a complex fortified wine, not the sweet digestif we know as an export, and it’s incredibly food friendly. If you’re a sherry-tasting novice, try a light, fresh fino with olives and jamón. For more complex dishes, you’ll want to bring in a richer and more potent bottle of nutty amber amontillado or dark oloroso .

We have properties in lots more famous wine regions across Europe, so be assured you will find with us the best wine villa for your next holiday. Can’t find what you’re looking for? Contact our concierge team and they’ll do all the legwork for you!

Photo credit: Lead image via Bill Selak on Flickr
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