Here's a great way to start Regional Wine Week: I received my copy of Oz Clarke's Pocket Wine Guide 2011 yesterday - it's a fun, handy reference volume with short entries on wine grapes, regions and producers around the world, with vintage charts, liberally peppered with bons mots from the effervescently witty Oz. I always enjoy reading his introduction, which this year warns against complacency by wine drinkers in the face of anti-alcohol activists who don't distinguish among drinks.
Then he describes what wines excite him lately. There are some unpronounceable Turkish varieties, and he's hot for Slovenian Furmint and even Cabernet Sauvignon from Jordan. (The country, not the Sonoma County winery.) He's rediscovered Chardonnay from California, New Zealand and Australia, and while he doesn't seem to share my love for Argentina, he gives a begrudging nod to Torrontes.
And then there's this:
"My most thrilling discovery in the USA this year has been the wine from vineyards spread around Washington, DC, in particular those of Virginia, whose sumptuous, scented Viogniers are world-class. A perfect partner for the leaner, racier delights of New York State."
Some disclosure is in order here. I contribute entries on the Eastern United States to this book, and I hosted (and wrote about) Clarke when he visited the Washington area earlier this year and shared his opinions on some local wines. When I met him, though, it was clear he was already quite familiar with many wines from the Mid-Atlantic region and particularly jazzed about Virginia Viognier.
Don't forget to check out DrinkLocalWine.com this week for more postings on regional wines!