Using Wine to Channel Some of Our Favourite Holiday Destinations at Home

There are elements from our travels that become part of who we are. A recipe we learn, a habit we pick, a type of music we discover. When visiting a place that brought us joy, we’re often compelled to bring that feeling back with us, and there’s a myriad of souvenirs that can help us relive the memories, although more often than not, the most meaningful ways to channel them are ephemeral.

You can have a shelf full of [I ♥ ‘city’] mugs or a fridge covered in magnets, but it really is the people you met, the art that moved you or the food and wine you enjoyed what creates that emotional attachment to the places one visits when fortunate enough to travel for leisure.

It’s been well documented that the senses of taste and smell are two of the most powerful triggers of our memory, and few things in this world are more deeply intertwined with the time and place they came from than wine. 

There’s a popular quote attributed to Italian scientist and philosopher Galileo Galilei that goes ‘wine is sunlight, held together by water’. While in practical terms, storing light is still in the realms of fantasy or at least science fiction, there is poetic value in the thought of wine as a bottled moment. Just as a recording or a photo can capture a place’s sounds or visuals, wine offers a snap of that deliciously vague term we know as terroir.

There are many great things about channeling the places we’d love to visit through the wines we remember from past holidays. On one side, it is affordable and in many cases very easy to source a bottle of wine from many of the destinations we love, in fact, you might already have one you brought with you the last time you went to the one you cherish.

On another note, wine itself can be enhanced by complementing it with the right choices of food and atmosphere, from music, to decor, to the little details when setting up a table, it all adds up.

Finally, it can help bring people together even when physically apart. Whether you enjoy it with in-person company, ‘face-to-face’ online, or even at different moments; it creates a shared experience worth looking forward to, and commenting afterwards.

The following ideas are more than mere wine recommendations. These are at home wine experiences inspired by some of our favourite holiday destinations and the wines we’re likely to enjoy when there. 


SOUTH OF FRANCE

While it’s impossible to choose a ‘best’ when it comes to places in France worth visiting, there’s something about the sunny South that just feels like a dream.

FOOD

Raid your delicatessen of choice for the implements you’ll need for a dream picnic. Make sure you grab good bread, tapenade and a couple of cheeses. If you fancy making something from scratch, try a classic Niçoise salad (check out this recipe by Chef Gareth Mullins). 

For an Irish twist of your cheese and charcuterie presented in a convenient and neatly packed kit, check out KD Food Co’s grazing boxes, which come with wine included and can be delivered to Dublin, Kildare or Kilkenny.

ATMOSPHERE

If venturing outdoors (yes, your garden counts!), don’t miss our guide to the best picnicware and gadgets to make the occasion stand out.

If you’re looking for the perfect music to transport you, check out Spotify’s French Indie Sound playlist.

For a little pop of colour at home, decorate the table with lavender flowers. Besides being lovely for the moment, it will stay bright and beautiful for a long time, giving your space a lovely perfume. 

If you are the ‘go big or go home’ type and you can get yourself to Wexford, try visiting Wexford Lavender Farm to collect fresh Irish-grown flowers yourself? (call them first to check availability).

WINE

Domaine La Sarabande Misterioso

€16.95 – Available at obrienswine.ie

Style: Balanced, lightly oaked red.

Flamants Picpoul De Pinet

€14.99 – Available at SuperValu

Style: Crisp, refreshing, high acidity white.

Coteaux Varois-en-Provence Rosé

€9.49 – Available at Aldi

Style: Delicate, dry, fruity rosé.


SPAIN

One of the most popular destinations for holidays and with good reason, Spain’s many charms range from sunny beaches, vibrant nightlife and of course, incredible cuisine.

FOOD

The vibrant cuisine tradition of Spain goes from the cutting edge multi Michelin-starred restaurants to the most casual and laid back terraces and of course, markets such as the unique Mercado de San Miguel where you can nibble and sip the evening away. 

Evoke that feeling by making delicious tapas at home. Here are a few recipes to spark your inspiration:

No quiere cocinar? If you prefer not to cook, worry not, you can order ‘at home’ meals from some of Ireland’s favourite Spanish restaurants such as Uno Mas, La Bodega, Bodega (Waterford). You can also find plenty of delicious ingredients and premium imported ready meals at A Taste of Spain.

ATMOSPHERE

Plan ahead, book your spot and follow along for a fantastic culinary session. With online experiences becoming more engaging and popular, there are plenty of ways to master Spanish dishes remotely. AirBnB has a variety of online sessions, for example Real Spanish Tapas & Sangria or The Ultimate Spanish Tapas Cooking Class.

For music, Spotify’s own Spanish Tapas Bar will do the trick.

WINE

Barco del Corneta ‘Cucu’ 2018

€20 – Available at nattywine.ie

Style: Zesty, vibrant, low intervention white.

Granbazán Limousin Albariño

€29.95 – Available at obrienswine.ie

Style: Full-bodied white, with notes of ripe yellow fruit and spice.

Gran Cerdo Rioja

€15 – Available at 64wine.ie, lecaveau.ie, greenmanwines.ie

Style: Medium bodied, fruity and smooth red.


TUSCANY

Al fresco dining icon and food and wine destination par excellence, Tuscany captures our imagination and appetite. Bring some of its wonder into your at home dining experience.

FOOD

With Italian food being one of the most  popular in the world and in Ireland, one is rarely far from a good Italian restaurant, and fortunately, many have adapted their menus to be enjoyed at home. 

Examples include, Tuscany Bistro, Pinocchio (check out our 3 course meal offer at Taste of Pinocchio Restaurant at Home), Gigi Ranelagh and Grano.

Feeling like cooking? You can start your adventure by dropping by or placing an order for ingredients at Little Italy, which has supplied Irish food lovers with Italian ingredients for over 40 decades.

When it comes to what to cook, here are some recipes from our archives that will steal the show:

ATMOSPHERE

Get the table out for an al fresco dining experience (include a few blankets of shawls in case the weather gets a little chilly). Start early, take it slow, and opt for family-style service (meaning, the platters are brought to the table and guests can help themselves to more if they wish to).

If you wish to make it interactive, try joining an online cookery class. For example, Pinocchio Italian Cookery School (which has proven very popular for large remote groups and corporate events). If you’re a MasterClass user, check out Massimo Bottura’s session on Modern Italian Cooking.

For a tailored, unique learning experience, you can join Michelin starred chef JP McMahon, or keep an eye on his next Italian cookery class at aniarrestaurant.ie.

For a modern and fun take on your tunes, press play on Spotify’s Estate Italiana, which features a selection of Italian summer hit bangers.

WINE

Bove Avegiano Montepulciano d’Abruzzo

€13.95 – Available at littleitalyltd.com

Style: Bright, medium bodied, gently oaked, smooth red.

Isole E Olena Chianti Classico DOCG

€32.85 – Available at 64wine.ie, wineonline.ie

Style: Full bodied, refined and balanced, rounded red.

Castellani Chianti Classico

€15.49 – Available at SuperValu, odonovansofflicence.com

Style: Smooth and medium-bodied, with balance between fruit and herb notes.

WRITTEN BY GABY GUEDEZ

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