What a tough decision!!! Though I would have to head off to France. The final choice, for me, comes down to more than just wine. I love the long history of these two regions. The wine making traditions in B&B go back hundreds of years, and to be able to immerse myself in not only wine, but living history is a dream of a lifetime. And well, who am I to resist the call of great French food, especially the more peasant style fare of Burgundy! Of course, Spain would be a lot of fun also, and besides, my Spanish is much better than my French (that is not saying alot). The wine regions of Austrailia and New Zealand don't interest me as much. Yes, I would love to travel there, but I think that I would spend my time "Down Under" do other things. And I can't forget Italy....if I had to base my choice, other than just wine, on just food, then it would definately be Italy. Not to snub Napa and Sonoma, but I have been there before, though I would go back in a heart beat. Decisions, decisions, decisions.....Ok, I have it all solved. I think Nicko and Cheftalk should send me on a 6 month tour of the great wine making regions of the world. I could write daily journals, and keep everyone informed about my working vacation (of course I would consider this work, bringing all my friends at CT, the lowdown on the best wine regions to visit).....yes, the more I think about this, the more I think it is a good idea. Nicko, are you reading this? Just let me know when you want me to leave, and I will give you my address, to send the plane tickets to. Gee, thanks Nicko!!!
I have a confession. I know very little about wine. I think my wine buds were altered at a very early age from my uncle Al's red and my uncle Tony's rice wine. I tried early on to educate my palate but had a very hard time relating to what the rest of the pupils were tasting. My tastes in wine are like a car with a gas pedal and a brake. If I like it, I drink it and enjoy it, if I don't, I will not try to acquire a taste.
You guys will hate me, but the house bottles of wine at home sometime come in cardboard boxes.
I have had the luxury of tasting some really fine wines, but I must tell you that I have also sat with friends while they articulate the various flavors,bouquet,etc. of a very expensive bottle of wine and I will just sit and smile thinking ' this stuff wouldn't make good vinegar' yuck!!!!
But I'm still in!!!!
Panini, your post reminded me of my 1st year wine instructor at culinary school, Ann-Marie. She was 35-40 years my senior, wife of one of the founding chefs, and, to this day, still one of the sexiest women I have ever met, but I digress. After weeks of class, learning about wine, and tasting some great bottles, she told us all something that I will never forget. She said, "Drink what you like, not what other people tell you to like. If you like Reunite, then drink Reunite. Personally, I think that it is s***, but if you like then enjoy it." To this day, I live by those words. Yes, I love the great wines of the world, but I do have my little, secret indulgences, ones I would never admit to in public.
Australia and New Zealand are tempting, since they are now developing some truly fine wines. California? Nah -- nothing wrong there, just not a thrilling choice. And as much as I love French and Italian wines, I would choose Spain, because there is so much to learn about there. We have not really dealt with their wines very much, except for sherry, and there are some coming from there now that are possibly equal to the French, truly. Plus the food there is wonderful. I almost feel like it's what Italy was, 20 or 30 years ago -- a place to discover some little-known treasures.
Of course, gentlemen, if you need someone who speaks French to handle the little travel details, I'm at your service.
BTW, CC: 2 other choices you could have included: the Pacific Northwest (oh, those Oregon Pinot Noirs!), and the North Fork of Long Island, NY. But I forgive you for leaving them out (even though some of my current favorites are from one or the other )
The Northwest, home to my favorite American Pinots. Other wine making areas of growing importance are also South Africa, and Chile. Chile tends to make a lot of cheaper, jug wine,but they also have some very nice wines coming out of there also.
By the way, Nicko, I still haven't heard from you about our travel arrangements!!!!
As I suffer from RWHS (red wine headache syndrome) traveling to embibe wine is not a big motivation for me. However, I dream daily of visiting and traveling throughout Spain. I love Jamon Serrano, Manchego and Idiazabal, Paella and white Gazpacho Andaluz. Remember Maximus' farm home in Gladiator? it's somewhere in the SW. If I could build any kind of house it would be just like that one, including all the lands and cypress lined drive.
I also have a fantasy of touring all the old Moorish castles and Cordoba-the jewel city of the Moorish civilization-public libraries, doctors, restaurants, hospitals, public sanitation, and soap-in 500 AD! All when the rest of Europe was scratching out a fearful feudal life and dying of plague.
It seems that every 3 or 4 years Spain and Spanish food gets a lot of press as being the next new trend and then the hype fizzles. Go figure....
But seriously, I chose Piedmont and Tuscany just as much for the food and countryside as I did for the Barolo's and Brunello's. I think if I chose one not listed, It would be the Rhone and the South of France. I find few wines as appealing right as I do the Earthy wine from Gigondas, Chateau-nuf-du-Pape, Provence, Minervois, Cahors, etc.... There are amazing wines to be found in the Southern Rhone, and some truly unbelievable bargains in the very south of France. I guess given the proximity, It wouldn't be entirely unreasonable to work my from Tuscany through Piedmont into the South of France. Now that!, woud be a **** of a Wine Trip.
I have to make quick mention of where I grew up, The Finger lakes of New York. A lot more going on there than people might expect. Some fantastic German style reislings to be found, Vidal Blanc make a fantastic Icewine here, Cabernet Franc makes a respectable showing even given the climate. If anyone is looking for specific wines I would be more than happy to oblige.
Went to Napa/Sonoma a few years ago and found it interesting; went to Tuscany last year and nearly didn't come back!! The Brunello is that spectacular, especially in Montalcino. I'm so eager to visit the Bordeaux region as I hear the food and wine is wonderful.
Hey foodnfoto, if you're still in the city, I'll treat you to some Spanish delicacies when I return from home in August! (home being Spain, of course), including some of the great wines my dad packs me off with after every visit.
And I strongly recommend Granada over Córdoba, not because Córdoba is not a gorgeus city, but because you seem to be very interested in Spanish moorish culture, and I believe it is more alive in Granada (maybe it's just that I visit there more often).
Althogh I voted Bordeax and Burgundy (as I've never been to either and heard so much about their wines) There is definately more interest in New Zealand and Australian wines. I'm from New Zealand myself and can honestly say we're getting ahead more on the world market and are producing some superb white varietals. While Australia are such keen red makers.