“Wherever we go what ever we do.
We’re gonna go through it together.
We may not go far, but sure as a star
Wherever we are its together.”
A little classic traveling lyrics to herald in the next installment of the Monthly Wine Writing Challenge and we are now up to the twenty-fifth challenge. The last winner of the Challenge was Loie of Cheap Wine Curious and her dubious honor was to select the next theme and it is “travel.” One of the most enjoyable parts of the Challenges is that it tends to get us out of our usual writing styles and to make us try our hand at something different. Of course raconteurs are always up to the challenge of being long-winded and rambling.
My Bride and I are basically parochial in our travels, and that is really my fault, as she has been to the continent and I have not, and I am sure that will change. We do our fair share of traveling and of course drinking wine, and I could have gone on and on about some of the great restaurants and wines that we have enjoyed over the years from destinations like Manhattan, New Orleans, Chicago, Las Vegas and other communities know for having great cuisine. Thankfully I am not over three hundred pounds and suffering from gout.
While we may not have visited any of the great wineries on the continent, we have visited some states and had the chance to visit some wineries, even sometimes where one does not anticipate finding wineries. On another Challenge I even wrote about my concerns about returning with a cache of wines that were stored overhead in the bin, way back when one could transport wine as a carry-on. As I look back, I realize that we have missed chances to visit wineries from states that are not traditionally thought of as wine producing states; and we shall have to make a more concerted effort to change that in future travels. I think that one of the most unique places where we did visit that had a winery was on the island of Maui in Hawaii. We drove up the mountain to visit this location and to see Tedeschi Vineyards and to try their sparkling wine, their red and of course their pineapple wine. I have also realized that there are some stories that I have neglected to discuss about that trip, but that is for another time.
I will omit writing about local traveling in the state of Michigan, but we have enjoyed many wines and wineries in the state and there are plenty more to visit and discover. Then we have visited some wineries in the various exotic wine producing state of Ohio and have even tempted fate, since Michigan license plates are not welcome signs for some sport’s fanatics and the assorted law enforcement agencies in the state. We did get the chance to visit Rockside Vineyards and Wyandotte Winery while on a trip. We also got the chance to enjoy some wines at some great restaurants that I would recommend for the wine traveler such as “M,” Mancy’s and The Refectory.
Since I am being really parochial and discussing travel close to home, we have enjoyed many wineries from the Province of Ontario in Canada. A country that is not thought of in general for wine production, but they are really worth the effort to visit, and I am amazed at how they are growing exponentially as I go back to the homeland of my Father. Some of the wineries that I would tout and it is a short list of the many that we have visited are: Jackson-Trigg, Trius Winery, Hillebrand Winery, Reif Estate Winery and Ravine Vineyard Estate Winery. Then there is an abundance of fine restaurants that cater to the wine lovers and not just around the wine production areas of the province. If one is looking for quality wine and cuisine, one could visit Escabeche, Benmiller Inn, Church Restaurant & Belfry, Trius and Barbarian’s Steak and Lobster House. Ontario is well worth traveling to for some serious wine tasting.
Of course no article about wine traveling would be complete with out mentioning California. We spent one week in Napa Valley and we could hardly even attempt to try all of the famed wineries that are so closely found together in easy distance from each other. We stayed in a home up on the mountain overlooking the entire valley and we ventured into some of the famous and not so famous locations, and a wide variety of wine making and varietals. It was truly an eye opening experience. Some of the wineries that we had a chance to visit were: Niebaum-Coppola, Hess Family Estates, St. Supery, Mumm Napa Valley, Duckhorn Vineyards, Opus One, Cain Vineyard and Winery and Prager Winery and Port Works. All unique, some grand and some very low key. The restaurants that one could also wine and dine there can also be legendary and some were just fun. I mean the chance to try Thomas Keller twice in one week at The French Laundry and then at Bouchon. There was also a picnic lunch at Sattui, dinner aboard the Napa Valley Wine Train and Chanterelle were all memorable. I am sure that if we stayed a month there, we would still not see and discover all of the wineries.
While Napa Valley gets most of the attention when one thinks of wine in California, another area that we have traveled to several times is the Monterey District and of course, we enjoy staying at Carmel-by-the-Sea. This wine producing area is much more spread out and only allowed wine tastings at a couple of wineries on each day, because of the driving from destination to destination. Some of the wineries that we have visited and some more than once were: Heller Estates, Robert Talbott Winery, Bernardus Winery, Bargetto Winery and Chateau Julien. One would not have to worry about starving in this area of California as there were many restaurants with some great wines that we have tried over the years as well such as: Pacific’s Edge, Casanova, Marinus, Ventana Inn and The Sardine Factory. So many places to try both for wine and for food, just make sure that you have a good car with an ample trunk.
Even though my Bride and I have not traveled the world in search of wineries, though we have vicariously through the years from enjoying wines from around the globe, we have enjoyed our travels and our meals. We also plan on continuing our pursuits and to discover other wineries and of course other restaurants.
“Come fly with me, let’s fly, let’s fly away.
If you can use some exotic booze,
There’s a bar in far Bombay.
Come fly with me, let’s fly, let’s fly away.”