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Wine Trips: Lets You Appreciate Wine More

Aug 18, 2007
For many people, although appreciating wine at home is a favorite pastime, it's just not enough. More and more wine lovers are visiting wineries, seeing how it is produced, and enjoying a new experience. Forbes Magazine wrote about some wineries that are off the beaten path. Sure, it's great to visit the big names, but smaller wineries offer just as great an experience, and sometimes a little more attention.

From Forbes:
West Coast's Winning Wineries - Avoid the throngs in Napa and head instead to the up-and-coming Paso Robles region, midway between San Francisco and Los Angeles. This region, with about 200 wineries, has the third-largest concentration in the country...
While there, visit Justin Vineyards, famous for its cult wine, Isoceles (a cabernet and bordeaux blend), Vina Robles for its 2002 syrah and J. Lohr for its cuvees.

Down-Under Drinking - If you're willing to travel far to fulfill your love of wine, visit Marlborough, New Zealand, on the South Island, an area Densmore says is becoming a hot spot for tourists. This region is famous for its sauvignon blancs, most of which are produced on a small scale. Wineries, spread along the Wairau River and surrounded by green hills, have views of Mount Tapuaenuku. Notable vineyards include Cloudy Bay and Wairau River.

Tippling In Italia - If you can't imagine a wine trip that doesn't include Italy, skip Tuscany and head north to Piedmont... Gaja, which boasts such pricey vintages as Sperss Nebbiolo Langhe, is a major producer. Visit Bruno Giacosa, situated 1,300 feet above sea level, to taste Barberesco Santo Stefano, one of the most coveted wines in the country.

Also, here is a first. Yes, I know about some of the great beer that comes out of Mexico as well as the fabulous food, but wine? I guess just about everybody is growing and stomping grapes these days.

From Fine wine tasting awaits just across the border: Ten years ago, the Valle de Guadalupe began to sprout vines full of grapes, transforming into the wine-producing region it is today. Wine has become the staple of the valley, and because of the expanding viniculture, restaurants and innkeepers have claimed their stakes right alongside the wine producers. With the development, the quality of the Mexican wines has risen.

"The wines are comparable to the Napa Valley or the regions of France," said Jens Nielsen, my foreign guest. "They are very fine wines."

What has drawn steady-but-not-overwhelming crowds to the region for the past few years has been an exquisite mix of fine dining and award-winning wines, without the notoriety of other regions. Even on Sundays, restaurants with gourmet menus accompanied by wines from the Valle sit half full with excellent service standing by. A day trip is easily feasible on any day of the week, with most of the wineries offering tastings from morning until mid-afternoon. Many wineries that front the Ruta del Vino (Route 3) are easily found by markings from Scenic Highway 1 along the coast of Ensenada. This scenic, well-paved, two-lane highway snakes through green hills, which become lively in the spring months after moisture is carried from the Pacific Ocean into the valley.

Well, now that I think about the fact the Mexico is right under California, this all makes a lot of sense.
About the Author
The author writes about Kosher Wine and blogs at http://www.celebrate-wine.com/.
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