Thursday, April 19, 2007
Wine Blogging Wednesday #33
So after stumbling about the wine blogosphere for the past few weeks, I have found out about this great little tradition know as Wine Blogging Wednesday (WBW). The idea behind WBW is that someone "hosts" by proposing a theme (e.g., Oregon Pinot Noir vs. French Burgundy, or something like that). Folks then go out and find wine to fit the theme, drink them (the fun part!), then either blog about them if they have their own blogs, or post their comments back to the host's blog! Sounds like a great way to discover new wines that you may not have thought to try, as well as hear many different people's impressions on the same or similar wine. I'm all for making wine as fun, open and un-snobby as possible, and WBWs seem designed to do just that!
So, this month's WBW (#33 apparently - is that almost three years of WBWs then??) is being hosted by Marcus of Doktor Weingolb. The theme is Languedoc-Roussillon value wines: all bottles must be in the $15-$30 price range and from the Languedoc-Roussillon region of Southern France. To help everyone out a bit, Marcus posted this list of Languedoc-Roussillon producers - looks like there's quite a bit to choose from! This is going to mean another trip into Virginia to swing by Total Wine in McLean, since Montgomery County Maryland is downright draconian when it comes to the wine selection allowed within the County. I just picked up a couple mixed cases from them only last week, but hey: too much wine is never a bad thing!
The wine geek in me had to look up some quick facts about the Languedoc-Roussillon wine region, and it's impressive: the region has well over 700,000 acres of land devoted to the vine, and is the single biggest wine producing region in the world! In fact, L-R is responsible for over a third of France's total wine production - and that's a lot. This abundance of production has apparently been a blessing and a curse - originally, this region was known mainly for bulk wine production, creating copious amounts of very low quality wine. This began changing in the late 1980s when new first-generation, often young, winemakers moved into the region, schooled in modern winemaking techniques and passionate about making wines that expressed the potential of their appellation that they knew was there. They began to limit the quantity and improve the quality of their grapes, and their efforts have lead to a steady increase the quality of wines from the region.
So it sounds like this is an excellent opportunity to get good "QPR" wine, as the wine blogs like to say (Quality-Price Ratio : aka "bang for your buck"). Grape varietals which thrive in the Languedoc-Roussillon region are Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignan, Cinsault, Grenache, Merlot, Mourvèdre and Syrah. WIth this kind of a selection, what's not to love?? I look forward to spending what will likely amount to an inordinate amount of time scouring the bottles at Total Wine for the perfect selection for my inaugural WBW!