Bubbly is a beautiful thing. Sparkling wine has always been considered a wine of celebration; its intriguing bubbles rising up to toss forth a froth of scented effervescence, enlivening spirits at any accompanying event. For me however, bubbly, bubbly, and more bubbly is the way that I prefer to shimmy through life. My lady Elizabeth Fontaine, the beguiling star behind the brightness of my life, would only agree, with a most sensible of nods. Bubbles are her vinous companion, and at times, her artistic muse. We go through stretches where there is a bottle of bubbly to accompany each day...the other nice thing about sparkling wine is its low percent alcohol. ;-)
Our second full day in Kingdom of Navarra (Twitter, Facebook) (day 3 if you're counting our travel day) started off a bit scary, due to the usual amount of stupidity that I tend to afford myself. As you've probably noticed from my previous post about Day 1 in Navarra, I love to go on a run in the cities that I visit around the world. I feel that it is one of the best ways to get to know a new foreign land and its people. Like
an idiot always, I only carried my hotel keycard and a bit of cash in case I got into trouble and needed a taxi. I then headed out way before dawn at about 5:50am to streets unknown. Oh, and did I neglect to mention that I have absolutely no sense of direction?...I'm a total Marcus Brody. An hour later, my 20 minute jog has clearly turned into the definition of a lost tourist, replete with Spanglish as my only tool to communicate...no phone to call for a taxi, nor to even let my #Navarra5-mates know why I wouldn't be in the lobby at 7:45am!
My super fine readers would have to be asleep not to know about my longtime wine project as Le Wine Buff (WineLog) for Enjoy Bordeaux (Twitter, WineLog). Well, recently I sat down to lunch with reporter Ryan Flinn alongside my fellow 'Buff Rebecca Chapa (Twitter, Facebook) and we discussed our efforts to get the word out about the quantity of affodable, high quality Bordeaux wine. Lo and behold, Ryan Flinn put together a great article discussing just how relevant affordable, high quality Bordeaux wines within the context of the sky-rocketing prices of über-premium wines due to the rise of fine wine culture in China. The article has already been picked up by Bloomberg, BusinessWeek and SFGate, so check it out at any of the prior links. Cheers!
The #Navarra5 team hit the ground running (not yet drinking) at the start of our first full day in the great Kingdom of Navarra (Twitter, Facebook) with our trusty guide and F1 driver Michael "Miguel" Mantilla (ARGOS Wine Consulting/Kraynick & Associates, Inc.). Technically I ran the day before, through parts of the glorious and small city of Pamplona, capital of Navarra/Navarre and the setting of many a famous scene in the writings of their adopted son, Ernest Hemingway. I ran past some of his favorite haunts during that afternoon jog, past the tolling bells of the Church of San Lorenzo, and through the ruins of the Citadel. One of my favorite ways to get to know a new city, neighborhood or surrounding land is to take a run through it's fresh splendor.
It is with no small excitement that I am able to announce a new trip to vino heaven, once again this year. Navarra, Spain is both an autonomous region (Navarre) as well as an ancient wine region, whose wine roots date back up to 1,200 years. It was once a great and proud kingdom and sits between what is now the Spanish wine appellation of Rioja and the French wine appellation of Bordeaux. Consequently, it has grows an awesome mix of grape varieties from both regions that have been approved by the Navarra Denominación de Origen (DO): Garnacha Tinta, Tempranillo, Graciano, Mazuelo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Shiraz, Garnacha Blanca, Malvasia, Moscatel, Viura, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc. It also has a long history as an approved DO (the Spanish equivalent of a wine AVA or appellation that has strict, government-regulated quality control and approved grape growing and winemaking methods), celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2008. And it is to Navarra that I have the great fortune to fly, this coming Saturday!