Wine has been on our minds even more than usual. This preoccupation began last month with the welcome arrival of our newest CTTW team member, Morgan Ennis, who is a foodie/wine expert from Oregon. (Our holiday parties just got a whole lot better!) Morgan shared a few of her favorite French wines with me just prior to a recent CTTW scouting trip to Paris. Her good information, along with suggestions gleaned from a wine-tasting lunch early on in the trip, saved Brenda and me from committing a few restaurant faux pas when ordering wine in France. So, over a nice bottle of Burgundy, we thought, Why not share these tips with our clients?
If you want to avoid discomfort and the shame of picking the wrong grape when *traveling abroad, or if you just want to know what to buy Stateside, consider the following suggestions from Bartholomew Broadbent, a Richmonder who happens to be a renowned US importer and friend of Morgan’s. Also, be sure to seek the opinion of your restaurant sommelier, always a good resource.
- Port is popular. Evenings will often start with warm nuts and white port or chilled tawny.
- The Douro Region produces deep, rich red wines with amazing aging potential.
Wines to Try:
- Casa Ferreinha produces classical European-style red and white as well as the sought-after Barca Velha.
- Quinta do Crasto’s reds are deeply colored with layers of texture and oak for folks who like big CA cabs.
- Dirk Niepoort is a wickedly wonderful winemaking genius. ‘Nuff said.
- Marlborough is the most famous region and known for Sauvignon Blanc, which takes on unique qualities because of the area’s soil and microclimates.
Wines to Try:
- Spy Valley produces juicy, drinkable wines, particularly Sauvignon Blanc – perfect poolside in summer.
- Ben Glover’s Zephyr wines are Marlborough favorites.
- And farther afield, there are excellent wines from Mt Difficulty and Quartz Reef in Central Otago and Bilancia in Hawkes Bay.
*Don’t forget the Pinot Noirs from New Zealand, which can be as complex as those from Oregon or Ca.
- The industry is vibrant and full of young, skillful wine makers. Consider elegant Pinot Noirs from the Hemel-en-aarde region, Chenin Blanc and Grenache from Swartland and Bot River, Cabernet Sauvignon from Stellenbosh, and Chardonnay from Robertson Valley.
Wines to Try:
- Personal favorites include Beaumont Chenin Blanc
- For spring think AA Badenhorst Secateurs Rose and Chris Alheit’s Flotsam and Jetsom Cinsault
- For a special occasion anything by Eben Sadie, who’s a bit of a legend in South Africa
- For people who love big American Chardonnays, we would pour a glass of De Wetshof Lesca – rich and balanced in the American tradition.
This month we’re featuring Portugal, New Zealand, and South Africa, but other destinations are to come in future posts. Sincere thanks to Bartholomew Broadbent and Catherine Miles, Senior VP of Broadbent Selections, for their insight.
Want to learn more? Read Wine Not Order Like a Local Part II here!
Caroline Travels the World (swiggin’ with the locals)…And So Can You.