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Friday Fishwrap: Wine Country Destinations
Lost In Wine Country: Where Am I?

By Charles Olken

I am visiting wine regions around the world today, and you, dear readers are my guests. But, in order to earn your supper, you have to tell me where we are at each of our stops. Have a look at the descriptions of each place. Do not tell me that they all sound alike, but do feel free to enter your guess about one or all of the locations.

Answers will be provided tomorrow in this space. Or, if you cannot wait, send me an email via the contact button above and I will reply with a list of the locations.

  1. You pull off the highway, turn east towards the hills and you are immediately greeted with swaths of young vines growing in deep soils on table-top flat vineyards. These are the newer vines of the area, but you soon come to vines that have been around for years and years, and they are gnarly, squat stumps with canes that grow out from the trunk and look quite bushy in summer. The locale was once noted for Tokay, but, in truth, it is a red wine region that had an added moment of fame when a guy who wanted to play centerfield found himself here. Almost full credit for getting this one right. Extra credit for naming the centerfielder wannabe.

  2. You find yourself high in the hills looking south towards one of the two noted cities of this region. The soils are white, and the elevation is making you dizy. You would be happy partying here. Partial credit for naming the region. Full credit for naming the city at which you are looking. Extra credit for naming the town in which you are located.

  3. This region is chilled by one ocean and warmed by another, and it is said that the combined influences of these two bodies of water are what makes its Chardonnays so special. A river runs through it, and VC does not mean varietal character but a person who makes organic wines here. Full credit for naming the region. Small extra credit for naming both oceans. Added extra credit for identifying VC.

  4. This hill town seems never to have a bad vintage these days. Indeed, with alcohols approaching 15% for so many of its leading wines, people are beginning to talk. You are standing next to the clocher looking down into a village that has been here for hundreds of years, but it is only in the last decade that it has acquired a can’t miss label. Partial credit for naming the town whose name is also associated with its wine. Full credit for identifying the producer whose vines you see if you turn around and look over the stone wall that once protected the town.

  5. You are standing alongside a river that has given its name to an area that was once the home of blends of red grapes but has now become most famous for making superb wines primarily from one of the world’s most challenging grapes. You know the name so you only get partial credit. Full credit for naming the pioneers of the area. Here’s a hint. They are Tom, Louis, Tom, Gary, Joe and Dave. Extra credit if you remind me of those who came before them and are associated with the area’s main grape.

  6. You find yourself looking over a broad mesa that goes on for miles and whose upward tilt takes you to the base of some pretty serious mountains. Grapes grow at altitude here, but the land is basically flat and dry except for the occasional hail storm that blows in from the mountains. That is why you see all the netting in the vineyards. It is not to keep the birds away but to keep the hail from destroying the vines. Its claim to fame is that it makes oceans of red wine from a variety that no other region has tamed so well. Partial credit for naming the country. Substantial credit for naming the region. Full credit for providing the names of its older growing centers and extra credit for naming the newest addition to the region.

  7. The bonus question. You are looking at chalky soils but if you think about Cuvée Winnie, you will have to swim to get here.

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