There’s a quote from St. Augustine that says, “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” As a passionate traveler myself, I know that seeing the world can offer scope to anyone willing to take a step in a new direction. I’ve walked vineyards on the most remote plateaus of Patagonia, Argentina, and the lush slopes of southern Africa, sat at tables heavy with regional wine and food in iconic cities like Bordeaux and in tiny villages in New Zealand, and from each experience I’ve taken away incredible insight, and have been forever changed.
Travel and the appreciation of great wine and food are inextricably linked. For devotees of wine, there’s no better way to value and understand what’s in the glass than to go to the place where it’s made, and to meet the people behind the bottle. Knowing this, each year our editorial team chooses 10 of its favorite destinations for vinophiles. The 2013 list is incredibly diverse, exploring the iconic (Spain, California, Italy), the exotic (Brazil, South Africa, Portugal) and beyond. We pay homage to travel in every issue, but this list is a true love letter to just how global the wine experience has become.
Other discoveries await in the issue, such as Italian Editor Monica Larner’s report on Aglianico, the ancient black grape grown predominantly in the Campania and Basilicata regions of southern Italy. Full bodied, rich and ageable, this red is history in a bottle (it was a favorite of Pliny the Elder), and is an excellent choice for fans of assertive, cellar-worthy reds.
There’s more to Argentina than Malbec, but the best bottlings of that grape variety and others are unearthed in South American Editor Michael Schachner’s roundup of the top Argentine wines by price tier. This is the ultimate shopping list for must-taste Malbecs—as well as Chardonnays, Cabernet Sauvignons and beyond, from one of the most prolific wine-producing countries in the world.
Also in the Feburary issue, in the spirit of Valentine’s Day, we offer a wine and food pairing piece that highlights sommelier and chef couples who prove harmony can be found in the professional kitchen and wine cellar as well as at home.