Like me, do you believe the best way to experience another culture is sampling foods and thus their wine? Do you also think that history is always more interesting and vivid over a glass of wine? And doesn’t the idea of sampling great wine all afternoon for free sound great? Well if you said yes to any one of these I’d say you’d better give the other activities a try. But if you are like me and said yes to all three, I’d say stop wasting your time, get out and enjoy a wine vacation. A vacation in wine country promises to be informative, relaxing and overall enjoyable time.
One need not plan an exotic vacation to enjoy wine country. Nor do you need to fly a great distance. Here in the United States we have some great wine regions that are very accessible and in fact cater to wine lovers that want to get away for a weekend or maybe even just a day trip. California, Oregon and Washington are the largest producers in the US and conversely have the best infrastructure to keep wine tourist happy. Of the three California is by far the largest and glitziest. Oregon in contrast is smaller with a more down home, with ex-hippy feel. While Washington might be the fastest growing, giving an excitement to the overall experience. All three however produce great domestic wines, making the experience at the very least a tasty endeavor.
While exotic and distant is not necessary for a great wine vacation, it is of course an option. For years Americans have made their way to the France and Italy to experience the magic of these regions. But these are not the only countries in the EU that have great wine traditions. Spain, German and Portugal (to name a few) have thriving wine industries which could make an excellent excuse to visit these countries. But why stop in Europe for a wine vacation. The southern hemisphere continues to grow and surprise the world with the quality wines they regularly produce.
Australia is of course the best know of these southern hemisphere producers. The coastal growing region of Australia promise more than just great wines. The island neighboring country of New Zealand too holds it own in wine should one feel the draw of down under. Of course staying slightly closer to the US vacationers can enjoy a more exotic experience. The mountain regions of both Chile and Argentina contain adventure, foreign culture and superior wine. Perhaps the most exotic and distant region an American could experience during a wine vacation would be the vineyards of South Africa. Big game parks, great white sharks and African culture help to make South Africa an intriguing destination for any adventures wine vacation.
This of course is only the surface of wine vacations. All across the globe there are wine regions to discover and explore. Close to home or far away a wine vacation promises to be fun. But for those of us who can’t get away just yet to the wine vacation of our desire, I settle for a good book about the area, a quality bottle of wine and my imagination. If you can’t enjoy the people, at least you can enjoy their wine.
Monday, January 16, 2006
Since the beginning of homes, there has been a need for house warming parties, which means the need for a house warming gift. We all know that the best house warming gift of all time has always been wine. For some, picking the right wine can be difficult decision. Should you find yourself facing such a dilemma in the next few months I have the answer for you. You will always be invited back if you bring Bearboat Pinot Noir.
When bringing wine as a gift always keep in mind what the wine you choose says about you and your relationship with the gift receiver. Firstly, it is always good to know what type of wine the home owner drinks. If you don’t know, red is the safest choice. Secondly choose a varietal that the host will enjoy. Again if you don’t know the safest varietals have traditionally been Merlot or Cab Sauv, but now days the trending pick is a Pinot Noir, especially if it's a California Pinot. And finally you must consider price. If you by a wine that is too expensive you run the risk of it not being appreciated, but if you get a wine that is too cheap you could easily picking up a crappy wine. Although bad beer has its place, there is nothing worse than bad wine. (You do tend to get what you pay for.) So keeping all these factors in mind, Bearboat Pinot Noir is not only a safe choice it is an excellent choice.
I highly suggest Bearboat Pinot Noir beacuse for the value it is a tough wine to beat. While it is a trendy California wine that fits all the criteria for a great house warming gift, the most important fact is Bearboat Pinot Noir tastes great. In the glass it is a brilliant red wine with a sweet bouquet. Once in the mouth the wine is a pleasant balance between fresh berries and black licorice. The long finish helps keep the wine in the back of your mind, enticing you until your next sip. It is a true treat in a bottle. I highly suggest grabbing a bottle or two of Bearboat Pinot Noir. Even if there is no house warming on the horizon, you’ll find a reason to enjoy a bottle. And as long as you’re drink Bearboat Pinot Noir you and your friends will be happy.
Friday, January 13, 2006
Should you ever be in need of a wine that will not only impress but also heighten the sexual tension in a room, their really is nothing better than an Italian Moscato d’Asti. And for me Vietti Moscato d’Asti is the wine to choose. Affordable, reliable and tasty this is a beverage one can count on.
Italy's Moscato d'Asti will never be accused of being sophisticated. While some wines are meant to be sipped, reflected and discussed, the lightly sparkling d’Asti wine is meant to be consumed, in large mouthfuls. It is a style of wine intended for pure and simple pleasure. Beverages of this type (sweet, easy to drink and tasty) are often referred to as a panty dropper. It is not the thing guys drink during a football game, but rather what you pull out of the cellar when you want to share a special moment with intimate company.
Vietti Moscato d’Asti has a color somewhere between that of light straw and liquid gold. It is a light to medium bodied wine with flavors and aromas reminiscent of wild flowers, sweet spices and honey. The light sparkle of this wine is where the magic resides. I warn you it can at times be difficult to pull the cork due to the pressure build up within the bottle. However once the wine is open the pressure of every thing else fades away. Vietti Moscato d’Asti, like all Italian Moscato d’Asti’s is a wine not meant to take seriously but its power should never be taken lightly. I suggest finding some nice panties prior to sampling for the first time, because true to its reputation this wine allows your company a glimpse of your delicates once it works it magic causing your panties to drop.
Wednesday, January 11, 2006
Last night I got home from work tired, uninspired and ready for dinner. In such a state cooking for one’s self is out of the question. Lacking motivation prevents one from going out to eat. So with options limited but hunger calling I did what many American would do, I ordered a pizza. But just because fatigue limits your ability to make a great meal doesn’t mean your meal can’t be great. For me one simple step help make my lazy meal into a memorable dinning experience. I popped open a bottle of Clos Malverne Pinotage and my cheap pizza transformed into a dinning experience.
Wine has a way of complementing food, this is not news. What some might find news worthy however is the idea that wine can complement any meal, from the candle lit dinner to (in my case) a box of delivery pizza in front of the TV. You just need to know what wines you like and not worry about the silly formalities people tend to place on that intimidating beverage.
For me wine and pizza is a great marriage, and like John and Yoko, Pinotage and pizza (though everyone may not agree) is the most romantic of marriages. Pinotage is a varietal only grown in South Africa. Because of this fact many people in the US have not yet been exposed to this tasty South African gem. It is however a medium-bodied, versatile wine that pairs well with all types of food, especially great with BBQ or in my opinion cheap pizza. But of course the best way to know what you think of this wine, is to try some Pinotage. Experiment, enjoy and get back to me, I’d love to know your thoughts on how a nice bottle of South Africa Pinotage made your drab meal into a party.
Thursday, January 05, 2006
Pinot Noir grapes are finally getting the attention it has long deserved. Though Pinot Noir is one of the oldest red wine varietals, dating back to Roman times, it has been under appreciated in the US as a red wine with complexity, depth and outstanding flavor. American’s had often passed over Pinot Noir for a glass of Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon. But the ranting in the movie “Sideways” has made many wine drinkers pause and reconsider pulling a bottle of Pinot Noir instead of their favorite Merlot. Yet, of those people who have give Pinots a try, few realize the best domestic Pinot Noir’s actually come from Oregon. With wines that rival the world class wineries of Burgundy, Oregon Pinot Noirs are worth taking the time to discover.
A great way to get to know any wine, be it the great Italian wines in Tuscany or the memorable wines of the Rhone, is to visit the region. Oregon’s Pinot Noir is no different, so the best place to discover a world class wine would be a trip to the Willamette Valley. A short drive from the metropolitan city of Portland, Oregon, one will find themselves in the heart of Oregon’s premier wine growing region. With well over 200 wineries, lodging and activities for all ages, wine enthusiasts of all ranges will discover an enjoyable adventure.
Upon tasting some of these wines I promise you will experience a lasting impression. First, you will be struck by intense aromas of ripe grape; that can range from vaguely pepperminty to black cherry. In the glass the Pinot Noir’s are a myriad of brilliant reds that can range to somewhat inky. These wines are often described as full bodied but not heavy. Rather Pinot Noir has a soft, velvety texture. When it is done right the wine feels like liquid silk which gently caresses the taste buds. Although Pinot Noir can be cellared for around six to eight years, it doesn’t necessarily need as much cellaring as some of the more tannic reds such as Cabernet.
If you don’t have time to visit the Willamette valley to sample wine, I suggest you at least take the time to bring at least one of Oregon’s Pinot Noirs home. With many great Oregon Pinot’s to try it can be difficult to know where to start. Of course at any wine store worth frequenting they will have few Oregon Pinot Noirs to suggest. If they don’t I recommend finding a new wine store. It’s time you did yourself a favor and begin your appreciation of the world class flavors of Oregon Pinot Noir.
Tuesday, January 03, 2006
The right wine will make a good meal great. So for me, kickstarting a new year full of promise, I felt I should begin with a great wine. When I think about red wine that stands out vintage after vintage, one Washington wine always comes to mind, Waterbrook Melange. A tasty Washington red wine at an affordable price.
Waterbrook winery consistantly recieves awards for its Melange, and the wine has quickly made a name for itself as a red that will impress and bring smiles to many faces. Waterbrook Melange is a blend of five different types of grape. Together the Waterbrook blend is a mouth pleasing balance with a bouqet to match. I enjoy the because of its big red feel but ready to drink taste. For the value it is difficult to find a better wine, but at any price I'd be happy to find this red in my glass.
In the end, the best way to impress a date, suprise a good freind, or like me start-off a new year, turn to the balance and reliable flavor of the always award winning Waterbrook Melange.