Where are you heading this summer? Paris? Italy? New Zealand? New York? California? Texas? New Mexico? Canada? The town next to yours? Wherever your summer trips take you, use them to discover great new wines. Destination summer trips give you a great chance to focus on terroir, the grape’s growing environment (location, soil content, climate and slope of the land).
Terroir can make a tremendous difference in the taste of wine. Let’s assume that you are a Chardonnay fan.
If you are in the Chablis region of France, you are likely to taste Chardonnays that are lean and crisp, with a lot of mineral notes. If you are in Oregon, you are likely to find tarter Chardonnays. If you are in Napa, California or the Tuscany region of Italy, you are likely to find buttery, oaky Chardonnays. If you are in Santa Barbara, California, you are likely to find tropical Chardonnays. All of these tastes come from a single grape!
Winemaking techniques also play a big role in the final product. You might discover that you like one particular winery’s Chardonnay in a region but not any of the others. In this case, the terroir isn’t the key determinant of your preferences. It is likely to be the wine-making techniques. Also, the particular Chardonnay clone that was used could be a factor.
If your goal is to hone in on your favorite styles and regions, I recommend keeping a wine journal with you during your summer trips and asking as many questions as you can. Here are a few questions that could be helpful.
- Can you tell me about the environment where the grapes were grown?
- Type of soil?
- Amount of sun?
- Amount of fog?
- Slope of the hill?
- Was it a good growing season?
- Anything else?
- Was the wine oaked?
- What type of oak?
- New oak or neutral oak?
- For fermentation and aging or just for aging?
- For how long?
- Did this wine go through malolactic fermentation?
- Anything else?
- Do you know what Chardonnay clone was used?
As you enjoy your summer trips, please share your experiences here or on my Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/winetastingsandmore.
Since we’ve been talking about travel, I want to give a shout out to my travel agent, Lauren Liebert with Ticket to Travel, whom I think the world of. I’ve used her services now for a number of trips, including a Caribbean cruise and a trip to Cancun. Lauren is an expert at what she does and a pleasure to work with. She takes care of all those ugly details that are critical to the enjoyment of a trip and really helps make sure that your vacation is the most pleasurable. Lauren can be reached at 650-906-6000 and www.laurenliebert.com.
As an independent wine consultant with WineShop At Home, I absolutely enjoy bringing a taste of the Napa wine country home to you one sip at a time. Whether you simply love to drink wine, seek a special personalized wine gift, or are in search of a new wine jobs opportunity as a wine consultant, feel free to contact me for a truly unique wine tasting experience!
Betty Kaufman, WineShop At Home
Always so much to learn from your blogs, Betty! I would love to be able to travel and explore the regional wines as part of the experience…maybe someday I can use Lauren at Ticket to Travel and plan out a whole escapade…it would be something I’d love to do with my sister, Louise, who is both a travel and wine lover! Both you and Lauren are true professionals and I love how you both have such a passion about making your clients/customers happy!
Donna, thank you so much for the nice comments. Now a question for you – can I join you and your sis on your trip? 🙂
There is nothing better than sipping Chablis in France? Oh wait, perhaps a Chianti in Tuscany… Great article! As always, just when I thought I knew all I could about wine, there’s Betty to teach me more. Thanks for the mention – you are THE BEST!
Yum yum yum. I can’t wait to go on a wine trip with you!
I am so glad that you bring up the Terroir factor. I have been experiencing the Terroir factor in wine for some time. You can also taste it in the ground water and the vegetables grown in the same soil. It is subtle but definitely a factor. With that said I definitely Love Laurens ability to get a package together that works for you. Whether it’s the terra-firma of Bordeaux or the Peat of Scotland and Ireland she can plan your wine/scotch adventure to perfection!
I agree on both fronts. Thanks for your comments.
Wish I was traveling this summer instead I’m going to have to settle for tasting locally. Thanks to importing we are able to taste from all over the world in our own backyard. Always love your blogs I learn something new every time you write a new one. In the summer I must say there is nothing like a buttery Chardonnay, at least for me!
Kim, that’s awesome. You can do virtual traveling every time you open an international wine 🙂 Buttery/oaky chardonnay – yum. Interestingly, that isn’t a go-to wine for me in the summer. For me, that’s much more of a fall wine. Isn’t that funny that we all have our preferences?
I love the concept of traveling & tasting! Unfortunately, this summer, I’m only getting as far as the Sierras & Southern California, but I’ll still try it out! I bet there are differences even that close. Thanks for the ideas, I’ll sound so wine sophisticated when I’m out a-tasting!
Oh, yes you will!