Stuck in a Wine Rut and A Visit to Wine Travelers Paradise, Vino Volo

So Wine Enthusiast announced their 2011 Wine Star Award Nominees today. And they shocked me. Not by who was picked, I am not that knowledgeable about wine, but by how unfamiliar the list was. I consider myself to be fairly into wine but what I’ve realized is that I am into the same wine.

Take their wine region of the year nominees:
Prosecco (Italy)
Provence (France)
Ribera del Duero (Spain)
Russian River Valley (California)
Willamette Valley (Oregon)

Out of those five, I had never heard of the Ribera del Duero region. And though I know the other four well (a little too well at times, heh), I only regularly drink wines from the Willamette Valley and Prosecco (mainly in cocktails). I can’t even remember the last time I drank anything from Provence. So I’ve basically been ignoring some of the best wines being produced. Go me. Perhaps this is why Klout took me off their influential about wine lists.

So, clue me in… what should I be drinking? What’s your favorite region?

And as a side note, Vino Volo was nominated as one of the top retailers of the year. I spent a layover at their location in Baltimore on Sunday and was blown away. They’ve plunked down a wine bar in the middle of 12 US airports. The Wall Street Journal describes it as a “suave chain of wine bars with first-rate food” and that pretty much sums it up. I was able to sit down in a comfy chair and enjoy three tastes of “new world reds” and a bowl of chorizo chickpea chili for $14 (pre tax). No airport markup here.

If you like what you’re tasting you can buy a bottle and take it home with you (or have shipped). Best travel souvenir ever? This place is done so well that it would seriously be the tipping point between flights if my layover was in an airport with one. I highly recommend stopping in one if you have the chance.


  1. Wines have regions? Clearly I am not the person you want helping you out.

  2. Obviously I have an affinity for the Russian River Valley, it being the first area in wine country that I ever really got to know. Nearly 10 years later it continues to be my favorite due to the wide variety of grapes that grow and the excellent producers that know what to do with those grapes.

    For work I’ve been on a day trip to the Dundee Hills which is right outside of Portland and part of the Willamette Valley. We only hit up a few places, but they were nice. Lange Estate was my favorite. They are known for their pinot noir, pinot grigio, chardonnay. The chardonnay was outstanding. The reserve pinot was the best of the lot (and priced accordingly).

    In that area, I also love Argyle’s sparking wine. I’ve heard they do great things with other varietals but I’ve never ventured out beyond the bubbly.

    The next time I have a trip up to Portland, I’m going to try to convince Alan to join me so that we can make a weekend of it and visit the wineries of the area. I’ll let you know what research plays out.

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