When I first traveled outside of the United States I ended up in Paris, France. While there I stayed with my aunt who lived right downtown Paris. She was working for IBM at the time but took some time off of work to take me around and show me all the stereotypical sites and sounds of France. I saw the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre, and even had the chance to witness a show at the Moulin Rouge. We even traveled to the beaches of Normandy and stayed in a chateau for a couple of nights in the Loire River Valley.
Looking back on this trip the one thing I wish I had an appreciation for is wine. France is known for their wines, ranging from reds to whites and everything in between, and you are never too far from a store selling it by the case. I, being only sixteen when I was there, did not yet have a fascination for wine. I did, however, have a beer while I was there as there is no drinking age in the country of France. I had a 1664. You can even find that beer here in the states at some of the higher end liquor stores.
And while the purpose of this post is not to talk about my trip to France (should I write one about that trip sometime?) but rather to speak on the barrels that wine sit in. When wine is being prepared it has to sit for a certain amount of time to get the true flavors and to allow for the alcohol content to rise to it’s desired level. Wines are usually graded on the year in which they were bottled. You can usually see the year the wine was bottled on the label and if you are looking at, let’s say a Merlot, you want to look for years like 2006, to give you an affordable yet delicious experience. The year matters most as it relates directly to the weather conditions and the quality of grapes that come from that year.
However, not talking about wine itself today (again, another blog post?) Hotel De Vrouwe Van Stavoren in the Netherlands has something that you might take an eye to. I am very interested in architecture having actually studied it in school for a period of time, and when I see buildings that impress I tend to talk about them. For instance, I wrote a post on RoboVault not too long ago as their facility impressed me. But at this particular hotel, imaging four wine barrels (empty of the wine now of course) that once held the equivalent of 19,333 bottles of wine. That is a big barrel, right? Well, these are no longer holding wine but rather holding you and yours as you spend the night in one. They are now being used as hotel rooms!
My aunt, ironically the same aunt that had the home in Paris, sent me this article. She has actually inquired about taking a family vacation to said hotel and spending some time drinking wine and taking pictures. I just happen to have an extra week of vacation left this year. I think I know where I am headed!