I hemmed and hawed over what topic with which I should start this blog. I have accumulated years of stories, tastings, passport stamps and photos that I itch (not literally) to share with the public. Why? Because my husband tires of hearing the same “remember when” tune. Seriously, my real goal is that some of you wine, travel or wine & travel junkies out there, may glean a thing or two about new varietals to taste, small-producers to seek out or regions to explore, as well as share with me places and wines you love. And if you propose a region we should visit, whether it is a 2-hour drive or a 15-hour flight away, I WILL go; and drag my husband with me.
Why do I do this? Who can explain why any of us are interested in certain things; we just are. My Mom, for instance, happens to love handbags and shoes, but won’t spend a dime on travel, food or wine. The last time we got her on a plane was to visit NYC for my wedding, and even then I think I recall her suggesting we hold it in her backyard in Florida. Some find it amusing we are related, but to each his own, in my opinion; I am just happy she has good taste in bags—receiving her hand-me down purses allows me to spend my money on airplane tickets, wine samples and dinners.
I do know that I am motivated by curiosity for new tastes and varietals—I traveled to Croatia to drink Plavac Mali (a varietal related to Zinfandel), and tracked down a Colombard in Namibia (yes, that Namibia—the one in Africa with the huge desert; more on that in a later post). I want to uncover less obvious regions—skip the Russian River Valley Pinots next time and look to the Anderson Valley. I have a deep appreciation for the guts and dedication of winemakers, particularly small-producers—the owner/winemaker of Clos Solene in Paso Robles, California only produces 50 cases a year and rotates his barrels by hand.
I look at what wine retailers stock on their shelves, and I get depressed. I happen to live in NYC, so I have found wine shops with superb selections, offering multiple price-ranges, with staff-trained to educate and excite; but this is the exception to the rule. There are so many wonderful wines in the world to try, yet we end up with the same insipid selection, from the same producers, sold by the same distributors. Our 3-tier system of alcohol distribution is broken, and does not foster diversity or help the small guy gain entry into larger markets. Of course, some strongly argue that this is a result of the consumer’s palate and wallet; but I digress, as that is a topic for a future post.
Regardless of who is to blame for the lack of retail options, the point is that there is a wide-world before us to explore, both in wine and in travel. It is upon our shoulders to seek the authentic, the passionate, the soulful and the unique, and hopefully share our patchwork quilt of experiences with others who seek the same.
This blog will be a reflection back on where I have traveled and what I drank; what I am drinking now, and where I am plotting to go to next.