Wine-tasting ranks among our favorite activities when we travel. It frequently introduces us to fascinating people, and we almost always have the chance to sample something we would have a hard time finding elsewhere. Nor does it hurt that wineries and tasting rooms are often set in some of the world’s loveliest landscapes. Last year, we discovered several wonderful wineries in France, Italy and California, as well as a unique cidery in Canada.
Peschiera del Garda, Italy
The region of Lugana is not necessarily famous for high-end wine, yet Ottella is one of the most glamorous wineries in Italy. Contemporary art fills the striking winery and its grounds — which are tucked away in the countryside just south of Lake Garda — ranging from monumental outdoor sculptures to a “golden cloud” of beads shimmering above the aging barrels. We made reservations in advance and enjoyed a private tour of the facility with one of the owners, Michele Montresor. He shed light on notable artworks and assembled a superb wine tasting. We sampled a variety of white Luganas, including an elegant single-vineyard bottling and a compelling amphora-aged example. Ottella’s Valpolicellas had appealing richness, and the two Amarones we tried were deep but lively. Gorgeous wines produced by a gorgeous winery.