With over 400 wineries in Napa Valley, a visit to the region can overwhelm even the most distinguished wine drinkers!
Here are a few tips to help you make the most out of your Napa wine tasting experience:
Start your trip at the Napa Visitor Information Center.
If you don’t know which questions to ask, they do. You’ll leave with brochures, wine tasting coupons (a huge bonus!), and well-highlighted maps to get you started on your Napa wine tasting adventure.
At the very least, know which type of vineyards you want to visit.
With limited tasting time in Napa, nobody wants to spend their time at all the wrong wineries!
It’s okay to share tastings.
Not everyone wants to have their very own! Sometimes it’s nice to share a tasting and be able to check out that extra winery rather than overindulge at one or two. Less is more, right?
This picture (with the Big Ben clock tower, the Parliament building, and the double-decker red bus) is definitely one of the most representative pictures of London.
What you end up doing when you visit London depends on the time you have available. Travel agencies can give you itineraries ranging from several hours to days. But regardless of how long you are visiting, here are 7 activities you should include in your travel schedule.
- The London Eye: spectacular views from the largest Ferris wheel in Europe!
- Tower of London: a palace and fortress with nearly 1,000 years of history.
- The National Gallery: an impressive collection of Western European paintings.
- London Street Markets: colorful markets for every kind of shopping.
- Buckingham Palace: for a royal experience and to see the traditional changing of the guard.
- Cruise on the River Thames: a relaxing and leisurely way to explore London.
- The British Museum: discover one of the largest collections in the world on human history and culture!
* Photo by Adrian Perez
In simple words: if you love horses you’ll love Kentucky!
Horses in Kentucky are as important as kangaroos in Australia, pandas in China, or giant tortoises in the Galapagos.
Their importance is such that the main influx of tourism in Kentucky has to do with horses and the most famous and prestigious horse race in the world: the Kentucky Derby.
When there are no races, Churchill Downs still has thousands of visitors coming year-round to see the Kentucky Derby Museum (see photo).
This state-of-the-art museum offers a historical tour of the famous race as well as the horses and jockeys that became legends.
Some of the highlights are a 360 degrees movie theater, interactive games and panels, a display of the jockey’s silks, and a hall honoring the Kentucky Derby winning horses.
About one hour away from Louisville is the city of Lexington, also known as “The Horse Capital of the World,” where you can find the very impressive Kentucky Horse Park.
At the Kentucky Horse Park you can see many breeds of horses, including Arabian, Thoroughbred, Marwari, Pinto, English Shire, and Mustang.
These horses show us just how graceful they can be during a colorful performance (see photo).
Around this park there are plaques and monuments honoring horse legends such as Man O’ War, War Admiral, and Secretariat. The last two horses made history by winning the Triple Crown, a feat last accomplished by Affirmed in 1978.
On the outskirts of Lexington you’ll notice immense horse farms owned by celebrities, politicians, and businessmen, where they raise and train their horses to either compete in the races or sell them at the horse auctions.
Now, if you love steel horses, then you should visit the city of Bowling Green to check out one of America’s most famous icons: the Corvette.
Bowling Green is the only place where the Corvette is produced and home to the National Corvette Museum.
This unique gallery is a living chronicle of this sports car exhibiting all the Corvette models since its beginning in 1953 to futuristic-looking concept Corvettes.
Other great activities
Kentucky is also internationally known for its Bourbon Whiskey and you can tour famous distilleries such as Maker’s Mark, Jim Beam, and Wild Turkey. It is the whiskey of this region that gives life to the Mint Julip, the traditional drink of the Kentucky Derby.
If you love history, you will enjoy visiting the Ashland Mansion in Lexington (see photo).
This house belonged to Henry Clay, a prominent US politician from Kentucky.
Today, the Ashland Mansion is a history museum that tells the story of the architecture, the life of Henry Clay, and holds an important collection of paintings and historical artifacts.
Another historic town is Shelbyville, located between Louisville and Lexington. The town is known for its fine antique galleries selling elegant European furniture, classy paintings and stylish sterling silver from the 18th and 19th centuries.
Last but not least, another ultra famous landmark is Coronel Harland Sander’s first restaurant: the Sander’s Café, better known as Kentucky Fried Chicken.
Located in the town of Corbin, about an hour south-east of Lexington, the first KFC restaurant still operates under its original façade (see photo).
And best of all, it keeps attracting thousands of visitors from all over who want to see the origin of the most celebrated fried chicken on the planet.
Whether you are visiting Kentucky for its horses, its rich historical past, or its fried chicken, Kentucky does have plenty of surprises for everyone’s delight.
I’ll let you in on a little travel secret that few seem to know: You can bring an empty water bottle through airport security.
Whenever I travel, I stash my empty SIGG water bottle in my bag for the long trip ahead.
There’s nothing worse than feeling parched and then being forced to pay more than the price of gasoline for a bottle of water that tastes like plastic.
Lucky for us, the majority of airports in developed countries have water fountains.
Unfortunately, there are airports where the water doesn’t taste so great… but we won’t finger point here!
This is why it’s great to bring a high quality essential oil (only a drop or two does the trick) or just add one of those packets of instant drink mix. There’s also nothing that says you can’t bring lemon wedges past airport security, right?
So, next time you travel by air, save money by packing an empty bottle! You’ll also be helping our environment.
“Ahh! I’m having guests over for dinner! How do I pair my menu with wine?”
This is a common conundrum (pun intended), so have no fear if you’re feeling a little baffled or overwhelmed at the thought of pairing food and wine for other people. In fact, this is one of the most common questions people ask when they discover just how much I love wine.
Simply take it one dish and wine at a time. You’ll be fine.
Here’s the rule for serving multiple wines during a meal: Start light and make your way to full-bodied.
Here’s a real-life example of a recent (vegetarian) meal I enjoyed:
Menu: A light salad mixed with snow peas, radish, a mild and nutty Idiazabel cheese, topped with a light vinegar dressing.
Wine: Pair with a crisp, dry 2006 Schramsberg Blanc de Blanc ($36).
Why? Close your eyes and imagine how the light, fruity flavors would mingle with crisp vegetables and grated chunks of sheepy Idiazabel cheese.
Menu: A hearty wild mushroom dish with hints of fennel and sprinkled with fresh parmesan cheese.
Wine: Pair with a 2007 Penner-Ash Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley ($54.99).
Why? The mushrooms are earthy, so selecting a typically earthy Pinot Noir is an outstanding match. Remember: earthy dishes go great with earth wines!
Menu: Chocolate sponge cake lightly drizzled with caramel, topped with almonds, and served with coconut sorbet.
Wine: Pair with a Taylor Fladgate 20-year-old Tawny Port form Portugal ($60+).
Why? Chocolate and Port, for many, is bliss. Tawny port, in particular, goes perfectly well with dessert because it tends to be either sweet or medium-dry.
In particular, Tawny Ports are aged in wooden barrels giving the wine a nutty flavor. Mix that with rich, concentrated flavor and you’ve found an excellent match for chocolate!
Pair an exceptional dessert with Fadgate’s Tawny Port and your guests will walk away with a lingering memory of dinner in your home…
Stay tuned for more food and wine pairing tips!