ALINE BALY - It's not all France all the time ...

right? [wow.gif]

What are some of your favorite non-French wines to drink and/or share with others?

I totally agree! Especially after having lived 20+ years in the States and a couple of years in Asia…

A group of friends and I take an annual trip to spend an entire week drinking and eating a new region’s products. Most of these friends are located west of Chicago, so the past 3 years have been trip out to the west coast: 1) Napa and Sonoma, 2) Willamette Valley, and 3) Paso Robles. The trips have been a lot of fun and a great way to try new stuff. This year I have a trip planned to Burgundy (I admit it – I’ve never been) and – well – this group of friends is coming to Bordeaux right before harvest (that will be a bit less exciting…but an opportunity to show them what I’ve discovered over the past 3 years.)

In each region that I have had the opportunity to explore with them, I’d had some great wines – and some great moments – and some fabulous foods (cause it really is hard to separate those elements from each other). Here are some of the highlights from our trips:
Napa/Sonoma: Barnett’s Rattlesnake, Keenan, Chimney Rock, and Michel-Schlumberger. A big shout out to my friends at Opus One - Michael Silacci is one of the most passionate and motivating wine makers that I know.
Willamette: Rex Hill, Domaine Drouhin, and Archery Summit. (Note: I was absolutely blown away by the food in Portland!)
Paso: L’Aventure – hot for sure, but I like how Stephan is trying to stay true to the land but infuse it with his style and personality.

This is what I know about myself when it comes to wine: I prefer drinking while eating. I prefer blends over monocepages. I like cabernet franc. I like my reds older. I don’t like buttery chardonnays; I like minerality. I don’t like cherry bombs. Balance is key. My dad and I connect over malbec. I am still looking for a pinot that I really really really really like… (people are always shocked at my last comment – but do not fear, I am taking steps to accomplish this with upcoming trip; I just think that people have set my expectations so high that I can’t help but want more from the wine I am drinking). Finally, and this is the MOST important for me: texture.

So I’ve got the willingness to go beyond France – and even the opportunity. But this novice palette has still tons of work to do!!

I am suppose to head to Australia this year – any ideas of what I absolutely must try out there?

Based on your wine preferences I think within Australia you might find the cool climate area of the Mornington Peninsula to your liking…Gary


Do you remember where else you tasted wines and also where you ate when you visited Paso Robles? My wife and I visit Paso at least once a year, and sometimes as many as four times a year – it’s probably our favorite CA wine region (loving Rhone varietals has a little something to do with that!) [basic-smile.gif]

Or Margaret River which has great Bordeaux blends (both white and red) and minerally chardonnay. Mornington is mostly a Pinot and Chardonnay region.

That said… don’t be scared away from the Barossa - it’s home to some of the oldest vines in the world, which are to be treasured.