It just occurred to me that wine writers take for granted (among other things) that most of our readership understands where in the world we are talking about when we write about certain wines from certain regions.




Just the other day I had a woman come into my wine cellar and ask just where the heck the wine Barolo was from. She left satisfied after asking me a bunch of geographic locations and I finally (duh!) figured out that she might not be alone in wondering where some of these obscure locales might be. So, I thought I'd set down a few basic areas and sometime later, in a future column, list a few more.




So, here we go with a couple of gems:




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162; Barolo, Barbaresco &

These pretty little towns are located in the Northwestern part of Italy known as the Piemonte region. Once a great principality and the home of the last king of Italy, the great region is known for its fine Nebbiolo grape as well as the Barbera grape. These two red wine grapes are grown best around the city of Alba, which rests below the city of Torino (the Olympics and Fiat, for reference) in the Langhe hills.




The Piemonte region is, in my opinion, not a great source for the tourist industry, like (for example) Toscana, except for the world renowned red wines and truffles, as well as the spectacular lake region in the northeast of the region. This is a great area, filled with lovely folks and superb cuisine. It is a must-visit for serious wine lovers and those who enjoy hiking and bicycling. The term "Piemonte" means "foot of the hill" and the views can be stunning.




Barolo and Barbaresco straddle the little town of Alba.




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162; Bordeaux &

Some believe that this is the home of the great wines of Europe. This jewel of France lies on the west coast and is blessed by the temperate climates of the Atlantic Ocean and rivers that crisscross the region of Bordeaux. The home of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon for the white wines and Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petite Verdot (among others) for the great red varietals, whose history in the wine world are legendary.




Today, when we hear of a great Merlot or Cabernet, we need to remember that these wines (we believe) were the source of the cellar of Thomas Jefferson, among other illuminati of world history.




Bordeaux is also a lovely and stately city with seemingly endless fine dining and genteel and very friendly people. Again, Bordeaux is not the tourist capital, as Paris is, but what a lovely spot to spend a few days and drink superb wine. Along the roadway, up and down the area of the growing region of Bordeaux, are very historic villages such as Pauillac, St. Estephe, Margaux, as well as in the St. Emillion on the east side, with marvelous sites to explore. Yum!




So, those are my starting-off points in vino geography and we'll visit a few more as time goes on.




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162; And, finally &

If you have not visited Weissinger's Winery on the south end of town, give yourself a few minutes to drop in and taste a few of the wines. I have to say that there are some very nice offerings to be had and I know you will enjoy the good folks who work there and ... the view is really something.




Sometimes we take for granted our local resources, but I think this winery has come along way in the wine world and beautifully anchors Ashland's southern-most border.




See you next week!