Wine geeks need to get their nose out of the glass. When their eyes shift above the rim of the Riedel they just might notice the great people behind the counters, managing the wineries, not to mention the great areas where our favorite wines are made. Sometimes we don't tell the story and other times, I believe, we tell the wrong story. But often, a picture tells a great story.
I was introduced to Altos de Luzón, a wine from Jumilla, this past winter and was entranced by a small, relatively unknown wine region in southeast Spain that has been growing grapes and making wine for over 5,000 years. When I was planning a holiday in Spain, Jumilla was my go-to destination.
You will rarely, if ever, visit a wine region about which you know essentially nothing. That was the curious position in which I found myself as I arrived for TasteCamp North last weekend in Niagara, Canada.
The truth is life has often been very tough on Cephalonia. With a wine tradition dating back to Homeric times, historically it has always been hampered by invasion, domination and bloodletting. In modern times, politics and world wars have all had an adverse effect.
Of the 220 islands that make up the Cyclades in the Aegean Sea southeast of mainland Greece, Santorini is a playground for jet setters, the wealthy and those who follow the seasons around the globe like dust on the wind.
Napa Valley is noted for its abundance of wineries, wine tastings, warm/hot climate (even in winter), lavish restaurants, and compact access to literally dozens of wineries—currently numbered at over 700. But, with notoriety also comes popularity. Let’s face it—in the summer and fall, Napa is a zoo of tourists and locals. The two main thoroughfares, St. Helena Highway (Route 29) and the Silverado Highway, are usually jammed with vehicles, as are the tasting rooms.
Every new Internet development comes with a hyperventilating promise to change the way a winery does business by revolutionizing how it interfaces with its customers by creating a new type of community around the brand. Yet, these innovations rarely become the ubiquitous life changers they are touted to be.
In June 2005 I joined a mixed group—Croatian winemakers, restaurateurs, professors, and journalists—to sail the Adriatic from the Istrian peninsula of Croatia to the Greek locality of Monemvasia, off the eastern coast of the Peloponnese. We boarded two 65-foot yachts that set sail on a Malvasia Mediterranea MMV expedition whose aim was to discover the true roots of the ancient malvasia grape variety.