Sunday, August 9, 2009

Travel In A Bottle

After WBC09 I started thinking about the wine blogosphere and where I fit in on the scale of things. I’m not really a nuts and bolts wine blogger reporting on what I find ‘on the nose and in the mouth’. There are plenty of folks who do that on a regular basis and way better than I can. I know it’s a crucial aspect of conveying the expression of a wine to readers through a common language. But I find it almost too clinical, as if I’m reading chart notes written by a doctor—Patient Male 32, presented with shallow breathing and dilated pupils. Placed patient on IV drip of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Cab Franc-Petite Verdot with infusion of black cherries and hints of smoky mushrooms. Vitals improved. Recommend two year rest in French Oak barrels.

For me, a post consisting of only facts and figures is a boring read. I enjoy reading blogs that give me something beyond the basics and hopefully some insight to the personality of the blogger. I relate more to a story about the wine. After all, what goes on in your palate may not happen on mine. So while I appreciate the efforts of others to describe and rate wines, it's something I do very little of.

My approach to writing about wine is similar to writing about travel. I try to illuminate the small details or moments that are often overlooked and instead of writing lists of restaurants, hotels and must-see sights, I try to capture the character of a place or culture through a narrative that is entertaining yet still informative. I think there is room out there for both type of approaches.

Wine to me is an experience of a time and place. It's travel in a bottle, an adventure without leaving home. Your trip begins with the label, and right from the very first glass you are on a journey; each sip represents the land and the people who made it.

Nothing triggers travel memories stronger for me than a glass of wine from a region I have visited. From Cava in Barcelona, to Sangiovese in Tuscany, wines are like vacation snapshots I store in my palate album. And for regions I have not traveled to, such as Chile, I consider the wine as pre-trip research.

So instead of asking “What do you want to drink tonight? I ask “Where do you want to go tonight?" Perhaps you will go to Spain, Italy, France, or Chile. Or maybe you will stay closer to home. One of my favorite destinations is right in my backyard—the Russian River Valley

I want to read about your journey. So pack light and let me know where the next bottle you open takes you. And don’t forget to send me a postcard.

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