Regional Wine Week is off to a roaring start. My co-conspirator in this effort, Jeff Siegel – aka “The Wine Curmudgeon” – has kicked off the effort with a thought-provoking essay called “7 Things You Need to Know About Regional Wine.” Sadly, #1 is “You have to taste the wine before you can decide if it’s any good.”
That would seem to be self-evident. After all, we’ve learned from an early age that we should never judge a book by its cover. Yet too many of us dismiss a local wine because we tasted one years ago and didn’t like it. I consider myself a tolerant person, but when I hear people denigrate wines as impossible to sell, too expensive, and just downright bad when they haven’t even tasted them, well it just gives me the heebee-jeebies and gets my hackles up and puts me in a tizzy so I can spit out nothing but clichés in frustration. Jeff feels that way, too, but he puts it more eloquently than I can.
Regional wine is not supposed to taste like California wine, [Jeff writes in point #3]. Or French wine. Or like any wine other than where it is from. Missouri wine tastes like Missouri wine, and there’s nothing wrong with that. One of the ironies about the wine business that drives me crazy is that the Winestream Media fell all over itself embracing Australia’s unique style, yet doesn’t seem the least bit interested in granting that privilege to any other new region.
This is not to excuse bad winemaking – and there’s a lot of that to go around. But we should not let that discourage us from the treasure hunt for those local gems that are really exciting.
Go to DrinkLocalWine.com‘s page for Regional Wine Week 2011, which began Sunday, and already you’ll find links for articles about wines from Minnesota, Illinois, Missouri, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Oh, and of course Texas, New Hampshire, Idaho and Georgia. More will be coming throughout the week, so please bookmark the page and return often.
And if you follow wine news on Twitter, seach #drinklocal for news from Regional Wine Week. There you’ll find links to many entries in our 47-word essay contest about regional wine – and we hope you’ll be inspired to enter your own. We have prizes!