A trip around the world

Get ready! We’re going on a very quick wine-tasting trip around the world but, first some background information.

One of the reasons I enjoy the world of wine is because of its mind boggling possibilities. It’s said there are over 10,000 varieties of grapes around the world. Imagine how many differing wines can be made from so many grapes.

The world’s oldest wine (to date!) is a 6,000-year-old amphora contained wine found in the country of Georgia. There’s a lot of history to be found in wine making so let’s bounce around the world and visit some old and new countries.

Our imaginary trip’s first stop is the Finger Lakes Region of New York state. Arguably the best Rieslings made in America come from this area and Boundary Breaks Vineyard’s Dry Riesling is a prime example of what a dry white wine should taste like. It has a nice citrus aroma that takes us to the crisp and acidic taste of the wine. The finish is … well, dry and quick.

Are you ready for the transAtlantic flight to Spain?

We land in Spain’s Rioja region to partake of a bottle of Altos Ibéricos Crianza red wine. It’s made from Tempranillo grapes and is aged for 12 months in oak barrels. The high tannin wine relieves some of our jet lag and its lush fruit flavors and a bit of spice are relaxing. Bravo, Rioja!

We set our sight for northern Italy to taste an interesting and organic wine called Tresa Rina Ianca Grillo + Viognier. Knowing the vineyard allows wild animals to prowl the estate, we are watchful as we taste this blended wine and view the beautiful mountains in the distance. The wine is very tasty, has nice citrus flavors and is a pleasure to pair with seafood. Molto bene, Italy!

We travel to Greece and soon find ourselves sitting in an Athens street corner cafe ordering some glasses of Achaia Clauss’ Demestica — a classic red of the country. With over 100 years of wine making experience, the winery has developed a wonderfully rich bodied and luscious wine. The rich aroma is awe inspiring and it’s a shame to take the last sip. But the train is waiting for us and we’re soon on our way to Hungary.

The iconic Hungarian wine is Blaufränkisch and, as we settle into our restaurant chairs, we order a glass of Donausonne’s Blaufränkisch – a delicious sweet red wine that settles well with the meal of bratwurst and sauerkraut. However, we can’t dawdle since our next visit is to Moldova — a little known country between Ukraine and Rumania. It’s there that we taste Monk’s Soul — a semi sweet white blended wine that has enough fruity zest to it for everyone to enjoy but yet has a silky soft finish. A lot of wine is made in this relatively new country — Esushi!

It’s a very long flight to South Africa and we eagerly anticipate a taste of Robertson Winery’s Pinotage. It’s been aged for about six months in oak and the finished product has an interesting strawberry taste with a cherry finish. Easy to drink and nicely flavored it’s no wonder the Afrikaans like this wine — Dankie!

We catch the next flight going east and set our sights on Marlborough, New Zealand where we want to taste a Sauvignon Blanc from Nobody’s Hero. You want taste in a Sauvignon Blanc? Here it is! The wine’s in your face lemony aroma and taste ends with a dry mineral finish and it nicely reflects the stony soil of the area. Kia Ora, Marlborough!

Let’s head north and east for Hawaii. Once there, we search for a wine that will reflect the pineapple heritage of the island and we soon find Maui Blanc — a pineapple wine with caramel flavors. As the sun sets over the Pacific, we relax and enjoy the pineapple wine. Mahalo, Hawaii!

Our flight leaves the Big Island and heads south and east toward Chile. We are excited to taste some of the country’s wine and soon have a glass of Cono Sur Bicidleta’s Cabernet Sauvignon in front of us. The red wine is filled with fruitiness — raspberries lead the way to a plummy mouth feel that ends with a soft spiciness. A pleasure to drink but it’s time to head back to the the States. Muchas Gracias, Chile!

After a long flight north, we land in the state of Washington to sample some of the west coasts finest Rieslings. Yakima Valley’s Charles & Charles Riesling is superb. It’s a semi sweet white with enough crispness to balance the sweet finish. Thanks, Washington! I’m tired. Let’s go home.

We land in Minneapolis and find our way back to southwest Minnesota. It only seems fair to end the wine journey with a Minnesota wine and Belview’s Grandview Valley Winery is waiting for us with a welcome home glass of its Cougar — a Marquette-based semi sweet wine with medium body and long blackberry tastes. It’s comforting — thanks, Grandview.

Well, we didn’t sample anywhere near the 10,000 grapes in the world but we did a nice job of trying. Thanks for being with me — the trip was awesome!

Next week, let’s talk Thanksgiving beers!

As always, eat and drink in moderation but laugh with reckless abandon!