“Wine has been with civilized man from the beginning,” Robert Mondavi

After a few days of near hibernation from the virtual world–a condensed read through of the latest in wine news and a dismal effort to follow and participate with my fellow twitter winos–I am back in business and thankful, on account. Without a doubt, I find that through blogging and being able to share my passion for wine, newly-acquired knowledge, and all of the wonderful experiences that life has to offer, I am motivated and inspired to do more learning, tasting, experiencing and discovering. But that is not enough. Once I have finished gathering and processing this new data, it is entirely impossible to keep it to myself and fight the desire to share or teach it at the first possible chance I get–and this includes striking up random conversations in the office (aka. local Starbucks)/ grocery store/ Chapters, etc, with the first unsuspecting victim that I come across. On occasion, this works to my benefit and I make some awesome new friends through my incessant and somewhat unrestricted nattering (and sometimes, well, if you haven’t heard from me recently…) Yes, without a doubt, I am an educator and student for life–maybe a professional educationist? I think it could work…..

So, my efforts through the past few days have been a combination of sorts, aimed at beginning my mastery of wine in France in terms of history/ regions/ appellation/ viticulture practices/ and, plethora of wines, both then and now, and getting over a wee bought of fatigue. Luckily, I am a feisty force to be reckoned with, and stubborn as anything, and I am feeling like my my game face is almost back! As for French wine, yeah, that’s gonna take a wee bit longer. Personally, I think experience is simply the best teacher, ne c’est pas?

As I will be doing the bulk of my homework from my Toronto-based headquarters, and that inundation into the French wine scene will have to be postponed for a future investigative journey, I have structured my course of action according to the following plan:

  • History (extremely brief and to be revisited frequently)
  • AOC
  • Geographical Regions: Classic; Important
  • Regional Characteristics, in order of importance
  • Noteworthy Producers, Wines

Thus far, I have equipped myself with a minor overview of the evolution of France’s wine industry and cultural significance, and consider myself to have an understanding of the four levels of AOC designations. Geographical regions are beginning to become second-nature, and I am feeling that I have a firm grasp on its three temperate climatic zones. Soon, the appellations within these regions will be solidified in my mind, and I will begin to know the best-suited grape varieties, wines, vineyards…. it will all come…. and then for the best part–the tasting, analyzing and critiquing–the full sommelier experience. Currently, my regional exploration has me based in Bordeaux, and will be my destination for the next day or so. The first tasting on which I will report will be a horizontal tasting of Bordeaux reds of 2009 vintages. Then, it will be onto the stunningly beautiful valleys of the Loire. And, so, the reading, researching and learning must once again, take my full attention….France

As I depart to continue my tour of France, I can’t help but offer my take on Mondavi’s impression of wine’s longstanding presence:

“Wine has been instrumental in civilizing man from the beginning.” A.C.

Cheers for a fantastic weekend….. and more posts to come :)

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