Here at Bi-Rite we love to celebrate the awesome wine made right here in California. Passionate winemakers like Chris Brockway of Broc Cellars, Ross Cobb at Hirsch Vineyard, and Angela Osbourne of Tribute to Grace are forging their own paths and making food-friendly, vibrant and delicious wines that have a sense of place. I also love to taste things from where they started; every wine buyer has his or her own wine Mecca. For me it’s France. I admit it, je suis un francophile. I love French food, I love French culture. I love the people and their language. And I love their wine. I lived in Paris in dingy apartment for a year teaching English to little French kids, and even though I was pinching my pennies I still managed most days to eat the most delicious baguettes I have ever had to this day and indulge in a bottle of Cahors every once in a while, the first appellation that I ever fell in love with. So it is with great excitement that I am departing to go on a two-week long tour de vin around the country to visit with some of my favorite producers from an importer that we work with, Return to Terroir.
We will be traveling by car in a giant circle around almost the entire country. Landing in Paris we will depart immediately for Champagne, then onto Burgundy and the Northern Rhône and into Provence. We will spend a day or two in Montpellier for the giant organic wine expo Millésime Bio and then head North (to Cahors!), Bordeaux, and Sancerre. We will stay in Saumur for a day or two to check out the Dive Bouteille, the incredible natural wine fair hosted yearly by Catherine and Pierre Breton. From there, back to Paris and a long flight home.
Why am I going? To taste new wine, meet new people, learn a thing or two about what makes winemakers tick, to be sure. I will also be in search of new and exciting wines to bring back home for you, our guests and wine friends; but what I really want to explore is a topic that I mentioned above. That sense of place, terroir as they call it in France. What is it? The best wines from California have an unmistakable feeling of being from here, right now, in the moment. I’ve visited some of these places. Time to check out those other terroirs. I will be making posts here on our Bi-Rite blog to keep all your internauts at home informed about what I will be doing, where I’m going, and hopefully talk about some new wines that are going to make their way over the pond and onto our shelves. Keep checking and see you all when I get back!