Magazine article Sunset

The West Gets All the Good Vines

Magazine article Sunset

The West Gets All the Good Vines

Article excerpt

* Quick: Name a famous place where wine is made. If you answered "Bordeaux" or even "Tuscany," you're in good company. But you could also have replied, "The American West."

It's ironic that most of us don't think of ourselves as living close to the land. We read books like A Year in Provence and imagine how magical it would feel to be immersed in the archetypal simplicity of vineyards and olive groves - to be nurtured by a daily routine of good meals and good local wine.

But think again: the American West is the New World's Provence and Tuscany. Drive an hour outside the city of Bordeaux and you're surrounded by vineyards. Drive an hour out of Los Angeles and it's the same thing.

Even more important, there's a similar sensibility. Part of what makes the West special is its celebrated lifestyle of pleasure. Some of that surely comes from being surrounded by so many places that produce great wine (just as in France, Italy, or Spain).

Place is inextricable from good wine. The oldest wine "labels" in the world - the hieroglyphics on wine jars that belonged to the Egyptian king Tutankhamen (14th century B. …

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