What better way to ring in the New Year than in a destination where the stories span centuries, the wines are carefully tended to by generations of devoted families, and the regional cuisine is simply fantastic.
Enjoy a gala dinner on New Year’s Eve itself and spend the next day tasting amazing wines alongside hand-crafted chocolates. The other days will be spent discovering Carcassonne’s rich history, sitting down to wonderful meals and accepting invitations to tour wineries around the town.
Carcassonne is the largest fortified city in Europe, a listed UNESCO site and littered with architectural treasures. Perfect for culture buffs, this area has something for most people: Gallo-Roman and medieval fortifications, Narbonnaise gates and 14th century stained glass to name but a few sights.
Red is the typical wine from this area’s vineyards. The dominant grape varieties include Carignan, black Grenache and Syrah, which produce wines of character with fruity, spicy aromas that pair perfectly with the rich game and red meat popular in this area.
Today we fly from London to Toulouse, arriving mid-afternoon and in time to check in at the Hotel Donjon. We enjoy our first taste of Languedoc wines over a group dinner this evening.
After breakfast, we will explore the walls of Carcassonne with our local expert guide, who will give us fascinating insight into the history and heritage of the area. After a group lunch in Carcassonne, you have the afternoon to discover the town at your leisure. We will come together in the evening for a special gala dinner to ring in the New Year in style at the hotel.
A lazy morning and late breakfast before lunch at your leisure is the order of the day. In the afternoon, we head to Cocoa & Grapes for a chocolate and wine tasting. Enjoy hand-made chocolates and delicious local fine wines from Languedoc-Roussillon, whilst hearing fascinating details about historic Carcassonne from our knowledgeable host. The evening will be left free to enjoy at your leisure.
After breakfast today, we will visit the nearby Château La Voulte-Gasparets for our tour and tasting. Six generations of this family have been building the substantial reputation this vineyard has in the Languedoc-Rousillon wine industry. The vines, which are on average 60-years-old, produce wine with rich aromas and subtleness. Next, we will stop for lunch just outside of the Abbaye de Fontfoide, and afterwards we pay a visit to the majestic abbey itself. This evening, we will enjoy a group dinner at O’Vineyards, where we can also bid a fond farewell to this tour.
After checking out of the hotel today, we will head to another notable château, Châteaux Auzias. A blending and tasting workshop awaits here. This comprehensive tour showcases the wine cellars, the steps required for winemaking, the winery itself along with aging cellar, and it finishes with the bottling line and storage cellar. The highlight of this stop is the opportunity to create your own blend after sampling a few of the main varieties and getting some direction on the characteristics at play. There will be free time in Toulouse over lunch before a transfer to the airport and then we catch our return flight to London.
Lys is an established lecturer on the wines of Europe and is an expert on those from both Italy and Spain. She has a degree in Art History and a love of Mediterranean history. Lys ran her own wine tour company for over ten years and her vast experience will undoubtedly enhance your enjoyment of the tour.