This is the fourth in my series of suggestions for enlivening your wine explorations in 2012.
Drink local. Wine is now made in all 50 states. You may be surprised at how good some of it is.
Virginia and Maryland have thriving wine industries. These wines are not just for festivals anymore – they are showing up on retail shelves and restaurant wine lists. Take a day trip or weekend getaway to your local “wine country” – visit a few wineries, stay at a local bed-and-breakfast, eat at a local restaurant, and then come home and tell your local retailer about the wines you liked.
And keep in mind that wherever you travel for business or pleasure you are in wine country. Maybe you won’t have time to escape that conference in Phoenix to visit a winery, but the restaurant might have Arizona Stronghold on its list. Find yourself in St. Louis? Look for a Montelle Winery Seyval Blanc or a Norton from Stone Hill or Adam Puchta wineries.
Wherever you are, make a point to ask about local wines. If the restaurant offers them by the glass, that’s an easy way to try something new. One of my most memorable wines in 2011 was an ehrenfelser – a grape I’d never heard of – from Cedar Creek Estate Winery in Canada’s Okanagan Valley, purchased at a Vancouver store that sells only British Columbia wine. According to the Oxford Companion to Wine (aka, The Great Big Book of Everything), ehrenfelser is one of the less successful attempts by the oenogurus at Geisenheim to cross Riesling with a sturdier, more reliable grape variety. No matter. Ehrenfelser may not be popular in Germany, but I will always look for it when I’m traveling in BC.
Not only do we need to pay attention to what we’re drinking, but we need to be open to new experiences. Preconceptions are the roadblocks to understanding. We should always be willing to try “wine from around here, wherever ‘here’ happens to be.”
Previous posts in this series: