The Guardian has just published my latest Top Ten Wineroute on Provence – www.theguardian.com/travel/2014/apr/17/provence-wine-route-top-10-guide – a journey that took me along the Cote d’Azur from Toulon, past the grand town of Hyeres, a favourite resort of Queen Victoria and the unspoilt island of Porquerolles, up as far as Saint Tropez and the spectacular vineyards of Ramatuelle that lie right at the edge of the Mediterranean. Then inland, through the wild landscapes of the Massif des Maures and the classic Provencal scenery of La Dracenie where vines grow alongside olive groves and fragrant fields of lavender. But there is a lot more than my Top Ten to see in this region, so here is a Slideshow that shows many of the other winemakers and bistros to discover – http://www.thewinetattoo.com/portfolio/provence-wineroute/
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The vineyards outside Cape Town offer superb value, with bottles for under £3. From sunset tastings against a backdrop of mountains to renting a thatched cottage overlooking the vines, we have the lowdown on where to drink, eat and stay.
The best plan is to travel independently, call wineries first so you meet the people actually making the wine, and spend time in established wine valleys, such as Stellenbosch and Franschhoek, then explore further afield, including the lesser-known but very welcoming vineyards in the Swartland, Wellington and Tulbagh. The South African rand is weak right now, which means that prices often begin at £2.80 a bottle, while restaurant prices are very affordable – dishes such as tender springbok braised in red wine or freshly-caught seared tuna cost around £5.50–£7.