Posts tagged with "Vienna"

DECLAN J DONOVAN

22-year old UK singer-songwriter Declan J Donovan’s releases latest song “Vienna.”  “Vienna,” recorded with George Ezra producer Cam Blackwood, captures Donovan’s storytelling knack.  He weaves tales about his friends and family into his songs and loves finding magic in the mundanity of everyday life.  

LISTEN TO “VIENNA” HERE, WATCH THE VIDEO HERE

The first track Declan ever wrote, “Fallen So Young,” written especially for his brother’s wedding, was a huge success when he uploaded it to Soundcloud, getting a million plays within six months. In the wake of that triumph, he self-funded three tours around the UK and Europe, eventually landing a record deal at Epic Records in Germany, where major labels caught word of this unsigned troubadour from England playing to sold-out crowds who knew the words to every song.  He was one of the only unsigned acts to play last year’s BBC Music’s Biggest Weekend, appearing alongside Taylor Swift, Florence + The Machine, Sam Smith and more.

Biodynamic Wine

A Toast to Biodynamic Wine

One of the hottest trends in wine today is not bubbly rosé or exotic eastern European varietals, but biodynamics. While biodynamic wines are popping up on more menus, there are still a lot of misconceptions about the term and it can be challenging for consumers to know what they are getting.

Unpacking the term biodynamics, think of it as organic 2.0. We have a general idea of what it means to be organic, but different standards and measurements within countries make even that a little tough to understand. When we make wine, there are two big steps in the process. The first is growing the grapes. Farmers can choose to spray the fields and use chemical agents to reduce disease and insects or choose to eliminate (or minimize) these products. Some of these agents include copper sulfate and glyphosate-based weed killers.

After the grapes are grown and harvested, the producer then needs to convert those grapes into wine. In a non-organic transformation process, polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVPP) and other elements can be used for fining and filtering can occur with ion exchange resins.

There is a large debate on the heath impacts of these and other chemicals to grow and process grapes into wine, however, more and more people don’t want to take the risk and avoid them completely. For example, while copper and sulphur both exist in nature, it may not be a good idea to spray any of it on thin-skinned grapes.

The movement to reduce and eliminate these practices gave rise to organic wine. In the United States, the USDA set standards to normalize labels, by creating a standard for wine. Wine labels may state either “made with organic grapes” or “organic wine” (which means organic grapes and organic processing). The UDSA created a list of acceptable non-agricultural products that could be found in the wine and also set levels of Sulphur used to preserve the wine after bottling. Europe also set standards for organic wine, although they differ from the U.S. For example, Europe prohibits certain stabilizers in the wine like mannoproteins. Europe says it is ok to have ammonium phosphate, used to start secondary fermentation in sparkling wine, the U.S. says no. Many, especially smaller, wineries can’t afford the certification process but still following the organic guidelines. So, as a consumer, with variety in countries and labels it can be tough to find authentic organic wine.

Biodynamics adopts the philosophy of organics but goes much further. The philosophy of biodynamics was developed by Rudolf Steiner in the mid-1920s. His contention was that “use of chemical fertilizers would lead to the decline of soil, plant and animal health and the subsequent devitalization of food.” Beyond simply avoiding fertilizers and chemical agents, however, biodynamics promotes biodiversity and the integration of crops and animals and works to establish a “closed-loop” system of soil fertility. Balance is important, as is the awareness of moon cycles and weather conditions and how the environment impacts farming. When you hear people talk about biodynamics, they use words like balance and harmony and discuss ways to avoid negative impacts on the planet. These are the goals of biodynamics.

Undoubtedly, a growing consumer interest in helping the environment and making better health choices is causing an increased interest in biodynamic wine, but another significant reason for the success of biodynamic wine is the taste. Characteristically, biodynamic wines have a pure expression of the “place” where they are produced. The French call this concept terroir, and the minimal interventionist winemaker has the ability to express the unique nature of the soil, climate and varietals of grapes in the wine. Biodynamic wines have a much more varied flavor profile and more distinct regions are developing their signature grapes and wines.

Producing biodynamic wines is not easy and varies greatly depending on where the winery is located in the world. For example, northern European regions like Champagne in France, or Rías Baixas in Spain have challenging weather and without a lot of intervention, find greatly reduced yields (and revenue). That is why you find many more biodynamic wines in areas with sunny, dry (or breezy) climates.

Just because biodynamics is difficult in certain climates, does not mean it is impossible. One of my favorite biodynamic producers is Vincent Couche in Champagne. Instead of chemicals, he sprays herbal teas and plant-based solutions like nettle, horsetail, wicker, thyme, and queen flower. He chooses these sprays based on the properties to help the vines fight against excess heat and disease. Part of his estate is also vinified without Sulphur. I would argue that his Champagne is one of the most flavorful and expressive Champagnes in the world. The small winery, Bodegas Corisca, in Rías Baixas creates a wine from the Albariño grape that is extremely complex and expressive. After harvest, fermentation is spontaneous and Bodegas Corisca only uses natural yeasts, and then rests the wine on its lees.

While not ubiquitous, there is a standard for biodynamic wine, called Demeter. For biodynamic certification, the Demeter standard is much more extensive and has a “greater emphasis on on-farm solutions for disease, pest, and weed control” in addition to tighter controls around non-local fertilizers, water conservation and biodiversity. Although this is the gold standard for biodynamic wine, many wineries have not sought the certification because of the significant cost.

The best way to try biodynamic wine is to work through wine shops, bars and restaurants that have a focus on biodynamics and source their wines from producers. Try experimenting with biodynamic and non-biodynamic and organic wine and see if you can taste the difference.

About Michael Biddick

From computer programmer to wine scholar: Michael Biddick has disrupted century’s old systems of judging wine by creating an algorithm to systematically uncover the best wine regions in the world. In his recent award winning release, 43 Wine Regions (Mascot Books, Oct. 2018), Biddick broadens the palates of wine drinkers by offering practical and enjoyable visual infographics that clearly show why these 43 wine regions are so magical. A former contributing technology editor at Information Week and Network Computing magazines, Biddick uses accessible analytics to help people professionally understand wine culture. Biddick founded one of the fastest growing information technology firms in the country in 2009 and earned a Master of Science in Information Systems from Johns Hopkins University. Biddick is currently head sommelier and owner at Blend 111 organic food and wine bar in Vienna, Virginia outside Washington D.C. Biddick speaks English, Spanish and French. He is also a Master of Bordeaux wine, a certified French Wine Scholar (FSW) and was trained by the Court of Master Sommeliers.

Young Blood

5 Seconds of Summer (5SOS), debut the live video for their new track, Youngblood today on Vevo. The video was filmed across the band’s sold out 5SOS3 Tour– watch it HERE.

Youngblood is the title track from the band’s third studio album, out June 22 on Capitol Records and now available for pre-order. Fans who pre-order the album will instantly receive Youngblood and the first single, Want You Back.

Tickets for 5SOS Meet You There Tour, are on sale now at LiveNation.com. Each ticket purchased for the Meet You There Tour also includes a copy of the forthcoming album. The 25-city North American headline outing will launch on August 27 in Toronto, ON and include shows at several amphitheaters as well as Aragon Ballroom in Chicago, IL (September 8) and Los Angeles Greek Theatre (October 12).

5SOS new single, Want You Back, debuted at No. 1 on iTunes in over 18 countries and has already amassed more than 60 million streams worldwide. Billboard calls the track, painstakingly catchy, while Idolator says, the Aussie hitmakers dive head-first into slick pop with a rhythmic edge on their best single to date. Check out their recent performance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon HERE The official video, which was directed by James Larese (Eminem, Fall Out Boy, Imagine Dragons), can be seen HERE

Following 5SOS five-plus years of recording and touring behind its first two albums both of which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 the band decamped across the hemisphere to Los Angeles to find a new set of collaborators, influences, and inspirations. While expanding its musical parameters on Youngblood, 5SOS retains the hooks and trademark DNA that’s always been a massive part of the band’s appeal. They wrote and recorded the bulk of the album with the Swedish producing-writing team Carl and Rami (Nicki Minaj, Madonna). Other collaborators include Andrew Watt and Ali Tamposi (Camilla Cabello), producer/instrumentalist Mike Elizondo (Dr. Dre, Eminem, Fiona Apple), producer/engineer Noah Passovoy (Maroon 5), J Kash (Maroon 5, Charlie Puth), Asia Whitacre (Hailee Steinfeld, Zedd) and Andrew Goldstein (Linkin Park, Simple Plan).

Hailed as the biggest new rock act in the world by Rolling Stone5SOS is the only band (not vocal group) in history to see its first two full-length studio albums enter the Billboard 200 at No. 1. 5SOS’s self-titled debut album has sold more than three million units worldwide, with 1.5 million albums and more than 4.5 million single tracks sold in the U.S. alone. 2015’s Sounds Good Feels Good charted at No. 1 in 12 countries, including the U.S., the U.K. and Australia. She’s Kinda Hot  the album’s first single, topped the iTunes charts in 44 countries. 5SOS comprising Luke Hemmings(vocals/guitar), Michael Clifford (vocals/guitar), Calum Hood (vocals/bass) and Ashton Irwin (vocals/drums) has won an American Music Award, a People’s Choice Award, an iHeartRadio Music Award, five MTV European Music Awards, two ARIA Awards and an MTV Video Music Award.

Youngblood Track Listing:

1 Youngblood

2 Want You Back

3 Lie To Me

4 Valentine

5 Talk Fast

6 Moving Along

7 Walls Could Talk

8 Better Man

9 More Spike

10 Why Won’t You Love Me

11 Woke Up In Japan

12 Empty Wallets

13 Ghost Of You

14 Monster Among Men

15 Meet You There

16 Babylon

ANDREW LLOYD: THE PLATINUM COLLECTION

In celebration of his 70th birthday, ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER UNMASKED: THE PLATINUM COLLECTION was recently released through UMe / Polydor.

 

As one of the most successful composers of the modern era, Andrew Lloyd Webber‘s repertoire includes some of the world’s most celebrated musicals; Sunset Boulevard, Cats, Aspects Of Love, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita, Starlight Express, The Phantom of The OperaSchool of Rock and Love Never Dies – to name but a few.

Last year, Lloyd Webber became the only person to equal the record set in 1953 by Rodgers & Hammerstein with four shows running concurrently on Broadway (Sunset Boulevard, Cats, The Phantom of the Opera and School of Rock). Two of his shows are currently running in both Broadway and the West End: School Of Rock and The Phantom of the Opera, and his musicals have grossed more than $13.6  billion and have been watched by 302 million people across 44 countries. He has sold more than 40 million albums worldwide.

The collection is personally curated and overseen by Lloyd Webber to include classics from his earliest work starting with Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat through his most recent School of Rock.

Of the new album, Lloyd Webber says: “I owe everyone involved in putting this compilation together a huge thank you.  A vast amount of thought has evidently gone into selecting tracks from my almost fifty year old career. This compilation brings back a heap of memories – it has made this ancient composer very happy.  I particularly love the new tracks and of course I love the orchestral suites. There’s nothing a composer likes more than hearing their melodies played by a cracking orchestra.”

Newly recorded songs from superstar artists Lana Del Rey (“You Must Love Me”, Evita), Nicole Scherzinger (“Memory”, Cats) and Gregory Porter (“Light at the End of the Tunnel”, Starlight Express) and add to the collection of his cherished works from the past five decades.

Of Lloyd Webber, Lana Del Rey says, “Andrew Lloyd Webber has been one of my primary inspirations in music, so to do a cover of one of his songs is a dream.”

Gregory Porter also expresses his admiration, “Andrew is an icon of not only musical theatre, but he’s an icon of music, our culture, and of our human experience.”

The Cats classic “Memory” by Nicole Scherzinger is available now as an instant grat track. Of being on the album, Scherzinger says, “Andrew’s music absolutely influenced me as an artist… It’s hard for me to fathom that I’m a part of one of Andrew’s career defining albums. That is in itself career defining for me. It’s a dream, and a lifelong accomplishment.”

The set also contains recordings by world-class performers such as Barbra Streisand, Madonna, Michael Crawford, Sarah Brightman, Michael Ball, and released for the first time, Beyonce singing “Learn To Be Lonely” from the 2005 Academy Awards with Lloyd Webber accompanying on piano.

UNMASKED: THE PLATINUM COLLECTION is available as 2 CD and 4 CD editions. The 4-disc version contains an exclusive 40-page book with a personally penned introduction from Lloyd Webber and in-depth notes on each track, written by respected theatre critic and Lloyd Webber biographer Michael Coveney, together with tributes from Barbra Streisand and Glenn Close among others.

The fourth disc encompasses a mix of overtures and showstoppers from Lloyd Webber‘s key works, as well as newly created orchestral suites. The five new orchestral suites have been specially prepared from existing recordings, emphasising the grand orchestral aspects of his work. All CDs were mastered at Abbey Road Studios.

Lloyd Webber‘s productions have sold more than 330 million tickets worldwide. The Phantom of the Opera is the longest-running show on Broadway and second longest-running show in West End history. Cats and The Phantom of the Opera are two of Broadway’s four highest grossing shows. The Phantom of the Opera original cast album is the No. 1 Broadway album of all time in the U.S. and the #175 biggest seller among ALL albums of the SoundScan era in the U.S.  In addition to his worldwide sales and audiences, Lloyd Webber has been recognised by critics and peers with numerous accolades and awards including seven Oliviers, seven Tonys, three Grammys, one Golden Globe and an Oscar.

 
“Andrew Lloyd Webber Tribute to a Superstar” airs TODAY –  Wednesday, March 28 on NBC


JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR LIVE IN CONCERT – airs Sunday, April 1 on NBC


Lloyd Webber’s new autobiography UNMASKED, was released by HarperCollins on March 6th.

 

Jaguar’s New SUV

Ahead of its global auto show debut at the New York International Auto Show on Wednesday, March 28 at the Jacob Javits Convention Center, Jaguar announced an extreme variant of its best-selling F-PACE performance SUV – the F-PACE SVR.

Watch the film here.

Already recognized as the 2017 World Car of the Year and World Car Design of the Year, as well as being the best-selling model in the Jaguar line-up since its launch two years ago, the F-PACE was a natural choice to receive SVR upgrades. The performance enhancements made to create the F-PACE SVR make it the fastest and most powerful F-PACE yet. Boasting an enhanced chassis, improved aerodynamics and 170 more horsepower than the current range-topping F-PACE S, the F-PACE SVR is built for maximum driver reward in various conditions.

Engineered by Special Vehicle Operations (SVO), the 5.0-liter supercharged V8 found in the F-PACE SVR produces 550hp and 502lb. ft. of torque; a 44% uplift in power, enabling it to reach 0-60mph in just 4.1 seconds (0-100km/h in 4.3 seconds) on its way to a top speed of 176mph (283km/h)1.

“The F-PACE SVR delivers the handling and agility to match its performance,” said Mike Cross, Chief Engineer of Vehicle Integrity at Jaguar Land Rover. “Everything from the steering to the bespoke suspension set-up has been tuned specifically for our performance SUV and the result is a vehicle that lives up to the promise of both the F-PACE and SVR names.”

Aerodynamic enhancements include larger air intakes at the front and side fender vents that lower pressure in the wheel arches, reducing lift and providing additional cooling while also assisting with high-speed stability2. In addition, unique wheel arch extensions and lower body moldings provide a low-slung muscularity that sets the SVR apart.

An exclusive SVR hood features vents to help extract hot air from the engine bay, providing visual evidence of the car’s dynamic intent.

At the rear, a unique spoiler is joined by a new bumper housing the Active Exhaust system’s quad tailpipes. The bumper incorporates side strakes designed to aid aerodynamic performance by smoothing airflow away from the rear of the vehicle.

The upgraded chassis features a set of progressive front and rear springs that are 30- and 10-percent stiffer respectively; incorporating an anti-roll system that contributes to a 5-percent overall reduction in body roll.

New, lightweight forged 21- and optional 22-inch alloy wheels are wider at the rear by almost 1-inch (25mm) compared to the front and contribute to the vehicle’s enhanced handling. The 22-inch wheels are 5.3lbs lighter on the front and 3.7lbs lighter on the rear and are designed to deliver greater airflow to the larger 15.5-inch (395mm) front and 15.6-inch (396mm) rear brake discs. The brake discs feature an advanced two piece construction on the front and rear, and when combined with the lighter wheels reduce unsprung mass, further contributing to the new car’s agile handling.

The F-PACE SVR also features an F-TYPE inspired Variable Valve Active Exhaust System; providing not only a charismatic soundtrack, but also increasing exhaust gas flow as another factor behind the SUV’s increased performance capability. The SVR exhaust is 14.5lbs lighter than the standard exhaust system in the F-PACE.

As the first F-PACE to utilize a rear Electronic Active Differential (EAD), the differential in the SVR works in conjunction with a comprehensive range of advanced technologies, each calibrated to deliver increased on-road performance and handling. The torque on-demand All-Wheel Drive system’s Intelligent Driveline Dynamics (IDD) control technology has been optimized to maximize the benefit of the EAD, while the software for the Adaptive Dynamics suspension, Electronic Power Assisted Steering (EPAS) and Dynamic Driving Mode are all unique to the F-PACE SVR. Engaging Dynamic mode initiates faster, more responsive gearshifts, sharper throttle responses and increased steering response for a more engaging driving experience in all conditions.2

Inside, the F-PACE SVR features slimline performance front seats that provide enhanced lateral support and have the signature Jaguar lozenge quilting and embossed SVR logo. In addition, unique rear seats echo the heavily sculpted designs of the seats up front, while the SUV’s sports car character is underlined by a SportShift Gear Selector like what is found in the F-TYPE sports car. Finally, the SVR branded steering wheel is enhanced with tactile aluminum paddle shifters.

For all its performance, the SVR retains the practicality and versatility inherent to the ‘PACE’ family of crossovers and SUVs; the 33.5cu. ft. of available loadspace (with rear seats up) is unaffected by the enhancements made to the SVR model. As with other F-PACE vehicles the SVR keeps passengers connected and entertained on the move with an available 4G Wi-Fi connection for up to eight devices; advanced Touch Pro infotainment system with 10-inch touchscreen standard; and a standard 12.3-inch Interactive Driver Display instrument cluster.4,5,6

Four interior color themes help to highlight the vehicle’s high performance personality; Red with Jet, Light Oyster with Jet, Siena Tan with Jet and Jet with Light Oyster stitching.

Drawing on extensive all-terrain expertise of both the Jaguar and Land Rover brands, the F-PACE SVR features a host of advanced technologies such as All-Wheel Drive with Intelligent Driveline Dynamics, All Surface Progress Control and Adaptive Surface Response to aid performance on a variety of surfaces and in a variety of weather conditions2.

 

The F-PACE SVR will be priced from $79,9903 when it arrives in retailer showrooms Summer of 2018, and comes standard with a best-in-class ownership package7, Jaguar EliteCare.

 

Customers can visit www.JaguarUSA.com for more information and to build their own F-PACE SVR.

Comparing, Contrasting, Cutting, GUINNESS

The Guinness Brewery at St. James’s Gate in Dublin has been brewing beer since its founder, Arthur Guinness, signed his now famous 9,000-year lease on the property on December 31st 1759. The brewery began its life producing ales for Dublin City, it would soon embark on a journey brewing new styles of beer originating in London known as Porter’s and Stout’s. This journey would lead the then small family brewery located on the outskirts of Dublin City to become the largest Stout brewery in the world. Along the 258-year journey that Guinness has undertaken it has been frequently enjoyed at the table alongside a well paired dish.

 

The secret of a good pairing lies in the three C’s, Comparing, Contrasting and Cutting.

 

We will now use Guinness Draught Stout as an example of how to Compare and Contrast the same beer with two different dishes, and examine how the presence of one can interact with the flavor of the other.

 

When Comparing we are required to find foods with similar flavor and intensity to that of the beer. These flavors will then compliment and resonate with each other.

 

For our first pairing, we use Guinness Draught Stout, found in new throw-back cans featuring the Kinkajou, a marketing creation from the 1930’s, 40’s and 50’s by legendary artist John Gilory. Distinctively dark with a rich creamy head, coffee and malty, and the perfect balance of bitter, sweet and roast characters. These flavors are the product of using roasted barley in our brewing and also give Guinness Draught Stout it’s iconic ruby red color. When the barley is roasted at 466 degrees Fahrenheit for 2 and 1Ž2 hours it undergoes a change called the Maillard reaction, a chemical reaction between amino acids and reducing sugars that also gives browned food its distinctive flavor. The flavors from the roasted barley used in Guinness Draught Stout balance wonderfully with the similar rich roasted flavors of an Applewood Smoked Bacon Sandwich with each sip of stout harmonizing with every bite of sandwich until both glass and plate are empty.

 

GUINNESS DRAUGHT & APPLEWOOD SMOKED BACON SANDWICH

 

After looking at Comparing let us now review Contrasting Guinness Draught Stout with a different dish. As we know Stout tastes of coffee and bitter flavors, let us use those to contrast against and accentuate the sweet and creamy deliciousness of a warm Apple and Pear Tart nestled under a generous scoop of Vanilla Gelato. This pairing is very similar to having your cup of coffee with a sweet pastry or confection.

 

GUINNESS DRAUGHT & APPLE AND PEAR TART

 

Finally let’s discuss Cutting. We will utilize Guinness Blonde American Lager as our example for Cutting. Guinness Blonde American Lager, light and hoppy with floral and citrus notes and a long malt biscuit finish. This crisp and refreshing lager has a lively mouthfeel provided by its ample carbonation, this carbonation is ideal for “Cutting” through creamy and juicy dishes and cleansing the palate after each bite. While enjoying a burger at a BBQ or creamy ham and cheese croquettes using this pairing technique, Cutting scrubs the palate and resets your taste buds after each sip.

 

BLONDE AMERICAN LAGER & HAM & CHEDDAR CHEESE CROQUETTES

 

We hope you enjoy using the 3 C’s for your future beer and food pairing adventures! Happy St. Patrick’s Day from the Brewer’s at Guinness and always remember to Drink Responsibly.

 

Eoghain Clavin, Guinness Brewery Ambassador, Pacific Region U.S.

AQUILO “SILENT MOVIES”

SOPHOMORE ALBUM ii DUE FOR RELEASE ON MAY 4

  

Global streaming star Aquilo today release their new single “Silent Movies”. The new single follows 2017’s “I Could Fight On A Wall” and “Thin” from ii (Side A), the first half of their highly-anticipated second album. Aquilo also announce today that ii will be released in totality on May 4th and is available to preorder in CD and vinyl formats.

   

In November 2017, Aquilo made the bold decision to split their second album into two parts, releasing the first five-tracks of ii as the ii (Side A) EP. Aquilo are truly stars of the streaming age, with their tracks consistently amassing over a million streams. ii continues Aquilo’s progression from bedroom-based laptop producers to constant, inimitable innovators, and with two sold out London shows under their belts and a sixteen-date European tour to come, Aquilo are undoubtedly set for a massive 2018.

 

Hailing from the UK Lake District, Tom Higham and Ben Fletcher first introduced themselves as Aquilo in 2014 with their larger than life cinematic sound, and have since released three EPs and debut album “Silhouettes”, produced by highly regarded Icelandic producer Ólafur Arnalds and the ever brilliant SOHN. With tracks “Silhouette”, “Sorry”, “You There”, “Losing You” and “Never Hurt Again” gaining well over 110 million plays on Spotify alone. Aquilomade their U.S. television debut on Late Night With Seth Meyers in March 2017.

  

Listen to “Silent Movies” HERE

 

Praise for Aquilo

“Spellbinding, cinematic pop” – Mixmag

“An expanse of addicting melodies” – Pigeons & Planes

“Pop has rarely been this emotionally unashamed” – Rolling Stone

 

Contact:

MacKenzie Reynolds, Capitol Music Group MacKenzie.Reynolds@umusic.com

Freewheel Holidays

Curious about castles? A UK company specializing in self-guided bicycle vacations throughout Europe offers itineraries from Italy to Denmark that reveal secrets of courtly lives on the other side of the moat.

Freewheel Holidays’ self-guided tours include, among others, inn and/or bed and breakfast accommodations, bike rental, luggage transfers, route maps and notes, services of a tour host including welcome and information talk.

France is first up on Freewheel Holidays’ castle-driven itineraries. Cyclists can tour the Paris royal countryside – think Fontainebleau — on a six-day Paris to Versailles adventure at £909 per person double. Departures are from April through October. One lunch stop is the Castle of Vaux le Vicomte of Blandy, a rare example of medieval architecture. The 17th century Castle de Courances opens onto magnificent grounds including a water park. Étampes (Royal City) dates to the 7th century. Fontainebleau with over 1,500 rooms boasts eight centuries of continuous occupation by sovereigns. In the royal city of Dourdan is the early 13th century Château de Dourdan. The Château de Rambouillet began life as a fortified manor in the 14th century. This trip concludes with a visit to the masterpiece of Louis XIV, Versailles, one of the most beautiful achievements of 18th-century French art. More details here.

Dordogne Villages and Castles is an eight-day program from £749 per person double. Departures are mid March through mid October. Here are Château de Losse and gardens near the Lascaux pre-historic caves. In this archaeologically rich region is the château village of Beynac perched upon a cliff. Château de Caudon dates to Louis XVI. Along the Dordogne River are Château de Monfort and Château de Gourdon. More details here.

A seven-day tour, Loire Valley Castles, is from £599 per person double. Departures are from late April to late September. Steeped in history, Amboise is a market town celebrated for Château de Chenonceau that has spanned the river here since the 16th century. Château du Clos Lucé was home to Leonardo for three years and where some of his remarkable inventions are on display. Along the Loire are, among others, the 17th century Château de Cheverny and Château Royal de Blois in a community dating to the 6th century. Romantic castles surrounded by fields of wheat and poppy include Fougères-sur-Biévre and the Renaissance Château de Beauregard. Chambord is one of the most famous and majestic of the Loire castles. More details here.

The United Kingdom offers this stunner, a six-day Stamford to Lincoln cycling tour that visits Belvoir Castle that has gone through four iterations dating to 12th century Norman ruins; William the Conqueror’s 11th century edifice, Lincoln Castle; and Burghley, one of England’s greatest 16th century houses. The per person double rate is £699. Departures are available mid-April to the end September. More details here.

Two castle tours in Denmark include the eight-day Funen Fairytale Island tour available at £979 per person double from now through end August. Often referred to as the garden of Denmark, it is the birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen and home to the 16th century Castle Egeskov, hosting a fine collection of old cars, airplanes and bicycles. More details here.

On the eight-day Copenhagen and Zealand Circuit cyclists explore the castle of Gavnø, dating to the late 12th or early 13th century. Grounds here sport over half a million bulbs, a rose garden and many rare plants and trees. An immersion in Viking lore reveals 10th century Trelleborg, one of seven known ring castles and the best rebuilt castle of the Viking period in Denmark. Cathedral of Roskilde is the place where most of Denmark’s kings and dynasties have their graves. Guests may also visit the Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen. Per person double rates are from £829. More details here.

In Austria a seven-day Innsbruck to Salzburg tour is from £649 per person double with departures from end April to early October. High atop a hill in Salzburg, the city of Mozart, is Hohensalzburg Castle, a fortress dating to 1077. More details here.

In Italy,Freewheel Holiday’s Milan to Lake Como is a four-day tour from £259 per person double. Departures are early April to end October. The 14th century Castle of Trezzo sull’Adda is on a site occupied once by the Celts and overlooking a landscape that fascinated Leonardo da Vinci. More details here.

To check trip availability, make reservations, or to find out more about Freewheel Holidays’ leisure cycling tours call +44 (0) 161 703 5823, email info@freewheelholidays.com or visit website.

Follow Freewheel Holidays on Social Media

Twitter:@FreewheelHols

Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/FWHolidays

Google+:https://plus.google.com/+FreewheelholidaysCoUk

About Freewheel Holidays

A division of Sports Tours International, Freewheel Holidays specializes in self-guided, expertly supported European cycling holidays that strike the perfect balance between leisure pedaling and immersive sightseeing. The company offers easy cycling programs designed with special appeal to European and North American travelers. Guests cycle on their own, with enroute assistance and distinctive accommodations expertly chosen and secured by the company. A portfolio of over 40 established European holidays offers riders of all levels a freedom of choice. The company features a range of 4, 5, 6, 7 and 9-night itineraries to 12 European countries including the UK, Austria, France, Holland, Czech Republic, Italy, Malta, Switzerland, Spain, Germany, Sweden and Portugal. The majority of tours are self-guided with the exception of a few fully-guided vacation packages in Croatia, France, Italy and Prague to Vienna. The company also offers family-focused, coastal, wine lover, bike and boat, and solo traveler holidays.