I recently toured the Rhône wine region in the company of France-based American Sommelier, Kelly McAuliffe. Naturally, my wine tour of the region included a visit to Châteauneuf-du-Pape, where I (and company) visited the tasting room of the Fédération des Producteurs de Châteauneuf-du-Pape (FEDCN) to sample some of the wines of the Appellation.
My Rhône Valley trip wouldn’t have been complete without a visit to Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Fortunately, it was part of the itinerary set by Kelly McAuliffe, the France-based, American Sommelier who gave us the delightful tour of the Rhône wine region.
A Brief Background on Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Châteauneuf-du-Pape is a village on the side of a hill overlooking the Rhône Valley and the Rhône River in Southeastern France.
I promised Kelly McAuliffe that I will visit him in Southern Rhône the next time I’m in Europe, so when I went to Europe to participate in the Mondial du Pinot 2011 I decided it was time to make good on my promise.
The only American Sommelier in France, Kelly McAuliffe used to work for none other than world-renowned chef, Alain Ducasse. Now he consults with winemakers, educates novices and professionals alike, and provides private wine tours of the Rhône wine region.
After making our way through the scenic countryside of Val D’Orcia in the Tuscany region of Italy, we reached the gates of Montalcino. Nestled on top of a hill, Montalcino offers a superb view of the surrounding region. Instead of entering the gate, however, we veered left and traveled on a dirt road towards the boundary of the Montalcino appellation. A few miles down, we reached our destination: Poggio Salvi di Montalcino, home to the renowned Italian wine producer, Villa Poggio Salvi.
As I journeyed through Italy, visiting one sumptuous winery after another and meeting winemakers and colleagues I have either worked with or befriended through the years, Luca Belingardi of Poggio Salvi told me he had arranged a very special visit for me.
A Visit to Viticoltori De Conciliis in Campania, Italy
As per my Nuschese wine tasting post, Bruno de Conciliis’ invited me to visit his winery the next time I was in his neighborhood. For those of you who don’t know, Bruno’s winery, Viticoltori de Conciliis, is in Cilento in the Italian region of Campania.
Just recently, I decided to take Bruno up on his offer. As I was rather unfamiliar with Cilento, I decided to stay a few days so I can acquaint myself with this former Greek “colony.
Jean-René Germanier – Switzerland’s Premier Boutique Winery
As I continued my journey into the heart of Switzerland’s only Grand Cru wine making area, I met up with Gilles Besse of Cave Jean-René Germanier. He is, in my humble opinion, one of Switzerland’s top wine makers.
The Jean-René Germanier Winery
La Cave Jean-René Germanier was established in 1886 when Urbain Germanier planted his first vineyards and founded a winery in Vétroz, a small village at the very heart of Valais (see the post about Rene-Favre & Fils Winery for more information on this region).
My journey into the Swiss wine country included a stop in St. Pierre-de-Clages, a village in the municipality of Chamoson in the canton (state) of Valais. There, I met up with Mike and John (Jean-Charles) Favre of the Rene Favre et Fils (Rene Favre & Sons) winery.
The Wine Region of St. Pierre-de-Clages, Chamoson
The wine-growing area of St.Pierre-de-Clages and Chamoson is the largest in Valais and home to around 30 different wine grape varieties.
As you know from my post, Swiss Wine Facts, I have been to Switzerland recently. There I met with half a dozen winemakers and visited their wineries. The Adrian and Diego Mathier Estate was one of the wineries in my itinerary.
The Mathier Family and their Estate
The Adrian & Diego Mathier Estate is located in Salquenen, in the Swiss Canton of Valais. The Mathier family has been living in this wine producing village since 1387.
Finally! My chance to participate in the Oregon Pinot Camp has arrived. “Camp?” my friends’ incredulous faces stared back at me. “Your work is taking you to Oregon to drink wine for four days?” Well… when you put it like that… I guess I have to say, “Yes!”
Every year, 50 of Oregon’s wineries or wine companies come together and invite over 250 hospitality and wine professionals to explore and experience the Oregon wine country.