I know I don’t normally post on a Friday, but the blogging demon has possessed me (I think it’s something to do with it being Friday the 13th….spooky!). So it got me thinking about some of the more spine-tingling places I have enjoyed wine, let’s call them my wine tasting ‘haunts’…
Warning the following content is rated R18 due to some chilling and bloodcurdling connotations that may evoke nightmares.
1. Wine in Romania
The country as a whole has a creepy vibe to it. Well it is the home of Vlad Dracul (Dracula) after all. One of the best places to go if you want the whole Dracula experience is the fortress town of Sighisoara in Transylvania where Dracula lived for some years. Of course drinking red wine is a must and there are various restaurants where you can hideaway in the shadows whilst drinking your blood-red tipple, I have heard the Dracula Restaurant definitely does not ‘suck’.
My other recommendation would be heading to Bran Castle, which is easily reachable via public transport from one of my favourite places in Romania – Brasov. It’s a teeny, tiny, windy castle atop a hill that definitely looks like a great vampire haunt. Take a bottle of the local Romanian red wine with you and have a picnic or stop at one of the many restaurants on the way to the castle.
2. The House of Royal Wines and Cellars in Budapest, Hungary
Okay, I know they are the royal cellars and all but exploring the XV and XIV century cellars are pretty impressive and a little daunting. Climbing down the steep steps into dark dimly lit tunnels is a great experience. Along the way you get to learn all about the Hungarian wine culture from ancient medieval times to today. Depending on what tour package you selected, you can finish off the underground exploration with a guided tasting of some of Hungary’s famous wines.
3. Wine in Tallinn, Estonia
I don’t know if it’s the maze of dark cobblestone back alleys or its Russian history that makes my skin crawl when in Tallinn. If you want to be transported back to medieval times this is the place for you. Whether you’re dining on bear meat at Olde Hansa in the old town or sitting in an electric chair at the Scotland Yard bar just outside the old town you must have a nice dark, full-bodied red to match the experience.
4. Wine in Cairo, Egypt
With the amount of mummies around the place, Cairo definitely earns the 4th spot on my list. Surprisingly winemaking plays a big role in ancient Egypt’s history. Cultivation of grapes in Egypt began around 3000 BC. Wine was an important role in ceremonial life for the pharaohs. The flavour of the day was predominately red, however it was surrounded by a superstition that it resembled blood of those who had once battled the gods and fallen. Evidence has been found in Pharaoh Tutankhamen’s tomb of traces of white wine.
The best thing to do, if you are in Cairo is to hunt out one of the small hole-in-the-wall bottle shops. The best way to locate these is to ask at your hostel/hotel and they should be able to help out. Then you can go and buy a goodie bag of local Egyptian wine and beers. Don’t forget to pick up a pot of koshary on your way home as well.
Unfortunately I am not doing any of the above this Friday the 13th however you can be sure that I will be delving into a thick, dark Malbec this evening. The inky opaque Malbec will be the perfect accompaniment for a tender cut of steak. I’ll finish this off with some great inspiration from Count von Count “One bottle of wine, plus one bottle of wine, equals two bottles of wine! Ah, ha, ha!”.