I’m somewhat of a wine lover, and I’ve been so lucky to have visited some great wine regions and sampled some great wines. With each location and wine I’ve come to appreciate just how different and unique even a single varietal can be, and just how complex and vast the wine world is. Recently I watched the documentary SOMM – following four gentleman studying for the Sommelier exam. It’s totally fascinating and amazing to see just how accurate and knowledgeable one can be. This is truly something people can dedicate an entire lifetime to and still never learn it all. This made me realize just how little I know, however I thought I would still write about my favorite places so far (in no particular order, useful info sourced from http://www.winegeeks.com/articles/139):
Hunter Valley (Australia): Australia’s oldest wine growing region, and also known for local cheese, dairy products, chocolate, and bread. The landscapes are breathtaking, definitely my favourite on this list in terms of scenery. The kangaroos hopping around everywhere don’t hurt the appeal either 😉 Read more here about where we went, but overall Shiraz and Semillon are the most highly regarded products from the region. FAVORITE VINEYARD: Pigg’s Peak
Tasmania (Australia): More fabulous Shiraz and crisp roses. FAVORITE VINEYARD: Milton’s.
Mendoza (Argentina): Extremely high altitudes, unique climate, and unique soils make for a very unique setting. Days are hot and sunny while nights are cool and dry. This allows for a very long growing season, meaning Cabernet and Malbec thrive. I did a combination wine and mountain tour here.
Okanagan Valley (Canada): Canada’s only desert climate, this is really the only place you can grow wine grapes. The weather here is still quite volatile and changes within short distances, so many different vines and varieties can be produced. I came here for a dear friend’s Stagette party, and we got a good dose of the wine scene, including Little Straw Vineyards, Beaumont Family Estate Winery, Mission Hill, and Quail’s Gate. Famous exports from here are crisp, fruity whites and roses, pinot noir, and of course, ice wine. FAVORITE VINEYARD: Mission Hill
Mosel (Germany): Slaty steep slopes provide maximum sun exposure and protection from wind. This lets delicate Riesling grapes ripen slowly for a long time, exactly what they need. Riesling in the Mosel is a must-do – it might be my favourite wine in the world. Perhaps because I’m a geologist and this grape is famous for carrying the taste of its soil. Mmmm rocks. Read all about it here.
Alsace (France): A combination of sandstone, limestone, granite, and volcanic soils means that each vineyard in the area has its own unique little soil chemistry. While I only went to Strasbourg it was positively delightful to sit by the river in candlelight, sipping out of traditional Alsatian short, squat-bottomed wine glasses and chat with friends.
Franconia (Germany): In NW Bavaria, and famous for Silvaner and Muller-Thurgau. This is the only place in the world where wine is served in squat large Bocksbeutels, said to be shaped as such to prevent it from rolling away from its owner. What a fantastic idea.
(Courtesy of http://www.bavaria.by/bavarian-wine-germany)
And of course, a novel idea is always to host your own wine tasting! Grab a few favorite bottles, some nice cheeses, some bread/crackers, and a good group of friends 🙂