Getting to the essence of cognac: the distiller’s art

The deft hand of the master blender is critical to production

Getting to the essence of cognac: the distiller’s artAt first glance, cognac production seems straightforward. The local wine is distilled twice, aged in oak casks from a few years to decades and eventually bottled. In reality, it’s an exceedingly complex minuet where the subtle influences of terroir merge with the distiller’s art and ultimately flower under the deft hand of the master blender.…

With Cognac, it’s all about terroir

The environment, including the chalky soil, is everything when it comes to producing the right grapes

With Cognac, it’s all about terroirCognac begins as wine. Like any wine, it’s shaped in part by the environment in which it grows. Soil, aspect and climate, among other things, combine to create a unique environment, what the French call terroir. A wine, in turn, is a distinct expression of that terroir. In the Cognac region, terroir is, for the…

Pour a Riesling and travel vicariously to Germany’s Weinfeste

There is no better way to experience German culture at its most authentic than to attend a Weinfest

Pour a Riesling and travel vicariously to Germany’s WeinfesteWine enthusiasts love to travel – a pastime that the pandemic has rudely interrupted. As a result, many of us are hatching plans for future trips, or at least picturing ourselves in rugged Priorat or manicured Bordeaux as we refill our glasses with the eponymous wine. I find myself thinking a lot about Germany and…

Lisbon’s Belem District ripe for discovery

You can't really say you've seen Lisbon without seeing the Belem District

Lisbon’s Belem District ripe for discoveryIf you aren't already convinced that Portugal is a travel bargain worth a visit, you will be. Let me tell you about the Belem District of Lisbon. There is a day or two worth of sightseeing here, and you can't really say you've seen Lisbon without seeing Belem. If much of Portugal is explained by…

Lisbon, Portugal a travel bargain

Portugal is not always on major tourist routes, but there is plenty to see there, especially in Lisbon

Lisbon, Portugal a travel bargainLisbon is an overlooked European capital. Tourists tend to flock to Paris, Rome, London, but that little country on the edge of Europe? Portugal is not always on major tourist routes, but there is plenty to see there. If you’re looking for a trip to Europe, but you’re hoping to stick to a tight travel…

A drive through Normandy is a drive through history

If you're a student of history, ancient or modern, a drive through Normandy makes for a great holiday

A drive through Normandy is a drive through historyIf you're a student of history, ancient or modern, a drive through Normandy makes for a great holiday. It was from Normandy that William the Conqueror set out to take over the throne of England in 1066. If you are into 20th century history, there are the D-Day Invasion Beaches to explore. Start in Rouen.…

Walking the Camino de Santiago in northern Spain

For over a thousand years, the faithful have taken the pilgrimage to Santiago passing through northern Spain

Walking the Camino de Santiago in northern SpainFor over a thousand years, the faithful have taken the pilgrimage to Santiago passing through northern Spain. It's called the Way of St. James or El Camino de Santiago de Compostela. It's actually not just one route, however. It is a large network of ancient pilgrimage routes stretching across Europe and coming together at the…

Belgium’s capital, Brussels, has a lot to offer

Brussels is one European capital that's easy to miss on your grand tour of Europe

Belgium’s capital, Brussels, has a lot to offerBrussels is one European capital that's easy to miss on your grand tour of Europe. In fact, the whole little country of Belgium is easy to miss, but it's one that you really shouldn't. It has lots to offer. This grand old city is not only the capital of Belgium, it's the capital of the…

Is it Brugge or is it Bruges?

Brugge is the little town that time forgot, but tourists have found

Is it Brugge or is it Bruges?Tourists love Bruges in Belgium. A great city, it seems to have been frozen in time and, in fact, it was. Back about 5 or 600 years ago, it was a busy river port town, but then the harbour silted up and traders moved on. This little walled city didn't change for centuries, and because…

Ghent, Belgium, a museum of early Flemish architecture

Ghent is a friendly university town that is full of ancient buildings and history

Ghent, Belgium, a museum of early Flemish architectureGhent is a friendly university town that is full of ancient buildings and history. If Bruges is a city filled with tourists looking for a time warp, Ghent is a city full of students and locals just living life. Like Bruges, it started as a port but, unlike Bruges, it still is an important port.…
1 2 3 5