Discover the wines of the Rhône Valley with Mike Rijken.
- Visit to vineyard.
- Explanations about wine and gastronomy: wine-growing, wine-making, learning about the estate... How to taste wine, matching food with wine...
- Theme cocktails with winetasting...
Wine Safari likes to present itself through out four basic words :
Simple, Educational, Fun and Sensational.
For as you just have to phone us or make a reservation by email.
By experience Mike Rijken is able to make wine "understandable", and tries to explain wine and viticulture in every way without that the subject is becomming to difficult and to "snobby".
You will discover that there so much more than just the liquid that we call wine. It will educate you to know about grapevarietals, the type of soil, the skill of the winemaker, and what kind of vinification is best for obtaining white, rosé and red wine. Educational as Mike Rijken will translate everything between you and the winemaker, and therefore get you a step closer to understanding the French wine culture in general.
Wine and its people who make it, are certainly serious matters, but on the other hand, we should also see the sunny side from it, as wine is meant to be consumed and to be shared with other people and above all we should drink it during a meal, where we start to know each other better. In one word in fact "A Winemaker sells: Pleasure", and what would be better than sharing it. Convinced as he his, Mike Rijken has that flair and tickling enthousiasm, and his wine commentaries makes everybody smile for a while.
Sensational it is, as you discover after a morning, an afternoon or a whole day, what in fact you have learned about wine and its region in such a very short time. Sensational are the well and not so well known wineries that you can visit, and comercially we wish to conclude that the price for a Wine Safari is more than reasonable for what you get, and doesn't make that sensational hole in your vacation budget.
Mike Rijken, your guide
Or should we say Mike's Wine Safari.
Because this concept has been within Mike Rijken ever since he began working in France. After finishing hotel school in Bavaria, he puts his first footsteps in 1983 in Paris. There, he learned the language, and took courses at the Wine Academy of Steven Spurrier. Briefly, he returned to Holland and worked in a one-star Michelin retaurant as Chef de Partie.
In 1984, he worked in the heart of Burgundy (Beaune). His multiple talents served well in the kitchen and restaurants of a chain of Brasseries. In Burgundy, he led wine tours from the Hotel Le Cep (in Beaune), into Puligny-Montrachet and Pommard.
Although he worked for hotels and restaurants in Holland, and helped to manage a wine importation business, his heart has remained in France, serving as a link and spiritual guide between the French, and visitors interested in the best of wine and gastronomy.
After meeting his Dutch wife, Vivian, in Burgundy, they moved to the south of France. For 13 years, Mike was the hospitality / pr manager for the prestigious Château de Beaucastel in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The family Perrin sent him around Europe and the USA - whenever a good word was needed. With his background as a chef ; superb tasting skill ; and fluency in four languages, he can immediately explain why a wine may complement certain food ; what influences the wine ; how they may develop etc.
Most important, his personality and experience make his wine discourses a fun and rewarding pleasure for beginners and experts alike. He created the company Wine Safari to share his passion, and to facilitate people discovering more about the Rhône region - especially small, quality properties and lesser known regions. Educational, Fun, and Surprisingly simple to have a Sensational experience, with knowledge that really matters. It will make you want to return to Provence again and again.
Gigondas vineyards at the foot of the Dentelles de Montmirail
View over Avignon and the Rhône from Châteauneuf du Pape
Wine estate in Gigondas
Place of the village of Gigondas
The Gigondas parcels
An old filtering machine
Pleasure wine tasting
Prestigious wine batch
You will discover the famous appellations such as the Côtes-du-Rhône Villages (18 villages), 16 "Crus des Côte du Rhône" (such as Gigondas, Beaumes-de-Venise, Rasteau, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Vacqueyras...), Ventoux, Luberon, Lirac, Tavel, Clairette de Die, Côte du Vivarais, Duché d'Uzès....
Mike Rijken will take you to a wine estate (chosen according to your criteria). During the drive, you will be given explanations about the region, the vineyards and wine growing (the grape varieties, the soil, the way of trimming the vines…). Once at the wine estate, you will be received by the owner and winegrower or an oenologist from the estate's wine cellar.
You will learn everything there is to know about the wines. You will also learn how to taste and appreciate wine. Purchases are possible at the estate.
The vineyards of the Hermitage
Panoramic view of the Rhone Valley
The road of wine
The vines in terraces
The hills of the Hermitage
Set off to discover the famous appellations such as the Côte-Rôtie, Hermitage, Crozes-Hermitage, Condrieu, Saint-Joseph, Château-Grillet, Saint-Péray or Cornas.
Mike Rijken will take you to 2 wine estates (chosen according to your criteria). During the drive, you will be given explanations about the region, the vineyards and wine growing (the grape varieties, the soil, the way of trimming the vines…). Once at the wine estate, you will be received by the owner and winegrower or an oenologist from the estate's wine cellar.
You will be given explanations about the estate's wines. You will also learn how to taste and appreciate the wines. Purchases are possible at the estates.
Wine Safari will initiate you into the art of wine tasting. Wine Safari also acts as a caterer and can come to where you are staying, for an afternoon or a convivial meal.
They will explain to you how to complement your dishes with the best wines.
Mike Rijken, Ambassador for the Côtes du Rhône