Tag Archives: Jancis Robinson

Sunday Read: What’s in (and out) in the world’s oldest wine region

Jancis Robinson wrote a love letter to the Douro valley a few days ago, and I can only agree and simply have to repost it.

She opens with the line that some landscapes just get under your skin, and she uses an African safari. Now, I have done safaris in Southern and Eastern Africa, and I couldn’t agree more: the sweeping savannas, the incredibly wide sky, and naturally seeing those animals of childhood dreams in real life…I could watch elephants for days and weeks without getting tired.

Then there are other landscapes that catch me, like the rising mountains of Alaska, straight from the sea, snow capped. It’s insanely breath-taking in its majesty. And then there is the Mosel valley, with its steep vineyards and the rather unimpressive little river snaking through. And then there is the Douro valley in Northern Portugal which I have been fortunate to visit once, and hope to repeat that sometime this year. The vineyards in these ultra steep are terraced, rugged, not like the picturesque Mosel. Here, it is more brute force, and sun burnt land…stunning.

Not to mention the people and the wines, not just Port. Some of my favorite, affordable wines in the world come from this area. Jancis takes us on a tour d’horizon through recent Port developments and regular wines. We all could use a little more Portugal, a little more Douro in our lives.

Happy Sunday!

Jancis Robinson: What’s in (and out) in the world’s oldest wine region

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Sunday Read: The new Nahe

Some of you know that I have a (not so) secret crush on Jancis Robinson, master of wine and great friend of riesling from the early days when no one was talking up riesling. Her 1996 German edition of “Weinkurs” (published as “Wine Course” in 1995) was my go to book when I first began looking and reading into wine more. Her Oxford Companion to wine is seen as one of the great encyclopedias on wine (I don’t own it, so I don’t know how good it is).

Jancis Robinson with a riesling tattoo

What I have liked about her most though is her writing style. She has a wonderful effortlessness about her writing. She picks her readers up and transports us to the places and wines she tries. It is a great gift, I think.

I was reminded of how much I like her when I read this piece on Financial Times the other day. She is writing about a wine region in Germany that not many know: the Nahe. A tributary to the Rhine, it is one of the smaller wine growing regions and usually overshadowed by Mosel and Rheingau. Over the last 15 years however, some extraordinary vintners have given it new glory. Names like Dönnhoff, Emmrich-Schönleber and Kruger-Rumpf now have a place on the German wine map, and are pretty well known abroad, too. Taking Werner Schönleber’s birthday celebration as the occasion, she has produced a wonderfully intimate piece on this interesting and off the beaten track region in Germany. So much to explore!

Have a great Sunday!

Jancis Robinson, The new Nahe, Financial Times September 7, 2012

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