Learnin' Bout Burgundy With Authentica Wine Tours

Learnin' Bout Burgundy With Authentica Wine Tours

One thing that has been a common thread throughout our traveling narrative has been the fact that we love to eat and drink, but more specifically, we love to eat and drink items which are exclusive to the area we're in. Especially food and beverages we already had been enjoying for our entire lives. Being able to try an Icelandic liquor that isn't exported so you can't find it anywhere else in the world? Dope. Being able to eat belgian waffles IN BELGIUM? Life changing. So one of the areas we have had earmarked since we started planning this European leg of our trip has been wine country in France. We'd been hearing the names for years: Burgundy. Champagne. Boujelais. Cotes Du Rhone. And then we were there. We were in Champagne. We were on the coast of the Rhone. We were lucky enough to spend multiple days in Burgundy, and doubly lucky enough to have Authentica Wine Tours as our guides.

Authentica Wine Tours offer multiple tours of the Burgundy wine region, ranging from crazy expensive full-day private tours of Côtes Du Nuis and Côte de Beaune to extremely affordable half-day tours, all of which include the most important and exciting part of drinking wine, TASTINGS. OH HOW I LOVE TASTINGS. When we were invited to join them on their Charm Tour during our time driving through French country, we jumped at the chance. Unlike the decision to rent a stick shift instead of an automatic when I hadn't driven a manual transmission car in almost twenty years (SO MANY STALL OUTS), this was a great one. The difference between a good tour and a great tour is in the knowledge and the personality of the guide, and ours, Léonie, was absolutely fantastic. We went on the tour expecting to see some beautiful sites and drink some delicious wine, but we ended up with a lesson in what makes Burgundy and it's wines special and a lifelong interest in the wine-growing process. Don't worry, we saw beautiful sites and drank delicious wines, too.

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Virginia Wine Country: The Untainted Gem

Virginia Wine Country: The Untainted Gem

We've been staying just outside Charlottesville, VA since Friday, which coincidentally marked a full week since we've been willfully, gainfully, and intentionally unemployed. At some point my eyes will stop bursting open at 7 AM ready and prepared to be heartbroken at the prospect of another eight hours at work, but today was not that point, and each time I fall blissfully back asleep at 7:05, I'm reminded of what a spectacular life choice we've made and how lucky we are just to be here. I'd love to tell you that there is a clear path to making the "Gap Year" decision at this time in your life, but the reality is, we made a savvy real estate investment almost a decade ago, which is paying off now, allowing us to take a percentage of our profits and travel. There is an alternate path lined with saving (I'd estimate you could do what we're doing after living frugally and saving your excess cash  for two years, but I'm not going to pretend to tell you that this is the only way around the world.) that will get you where you want to go, but this is where our path led. 

Our time in Charlottesville has been fantastic thus far, and the lifestyle in this part of the world is so refreshing and natural that we are seriously considering locating our home in this small city when we return to the United States. To be more specific, we are leaning just outside Charlottesville and towards Albemarle and Nelson County, which is considered Virginia Wine Country. In the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains and within a stone's throw of the University Of Virginia, a gaggle of breweries, vineyards, and cideries have sprung up in the towns of Crozet and Nellysford. We've spent the past days visiting the best of these places and enjoying the fruits of the grapevines and apple orchards. My personal highlight was enjoying an India Pressed Apples cider at Bold Rock; honestly, if the only ciders you've had are Angry Orchard and Woodchuck, do yourself a favor, sip one of these on a hot day while sitting on the expansive back porch with the Blue Ridge Mountains in the background. It will change your whole cider outlook. 

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