Saturday, October 4, 2008

Wine Week to school you on regional labels

I wrote a month or so ago about the dream of two wine writers to bring recognition to wines and wineries outside the West Coast. That dream is about to be realized, as the site Drink Local Wine has been developed and activated. Regional Wine Week is officially under way.

Beginning this weekend and continuing through next week, around 30 writers will introduce you to wines you’ve probably never heard about. What all will have in common is that these wines are produced in the back yards of these writers and that none are made in what’s accepted as American wine country: California, Oregon and Washington.

Ome of the cofounders of tis project, Dave McIntyre, writes out of the Washington D.C./northern Virginia area. It’s his feeling that “local wines - broadly defined as any wines not from the West Coast - are getting better. This is especially true in New York and Virginia, but increasingly so in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and unheralded spots such as North Carolina's Yadkin Valley and the mountains of northern Georgia. The Ohio River Valley produces Pinot Blanc of surprising finesse, and Michigan's Old Mission and Leelanau peninsulas are increasingly known for their spritely Riesling and perfumed Gew├╝rztraminer.”

All that said, his partner Jeff Siegel – a Texas wine columnist and blogger – insists that regional wines continue to get overshadowed by that monster that’s known as the West Coast. Not that they don’t deserve their due, but …

“It’s time,” he writes, “that regional wine got the respect it deserved. Yes some of its still tastes like it was made from grapes strained through sweaty socks, but much of its is as competently made as anything from California. I regularly do blind tastings with regional wine; the people who drink it think the stuff they’re drinking is from California or Australia.”

Wines from 16 states plus California will be featured, and there’s every reason to think this will be a successful harbinger of bigger things to come. I’ll be featuring a winery and two of its wines every day, from each of the major wine trails that fan out from Gettysburg east to Philly and north to the Lehigh Valley. And it will be fun to read how others handle their “beat” and what they unearth.

Enjoy. It should provide an eye-opening education.

No comments: