Bill Eyer of Cuvee Corner Wine Blog is on a one-man mission to scour the globe for delicious wines at reasonable prices. As a former beer drinker turned certified Sommelier, world wine traveler and self-proclaimed ‘cork dork,’ he offers unique viewpoints on the wines, regions and events he comes across.
In anticipation of the International Wine Tourism Conference in Italy, we asked him about how his love affair with wine began, where else he hopes to travel and what excites him about wine the most.
1. The 2012 Wine Conference takes place in Perugia, Italy, how do you view Umbria as a wine destination?
Well the way I view it is far different than the average vino-sapien who buys wine and drinks it that same day. But speaking only for myself; as a wine enthusiast and as one who wields a bit of influence over others wine drinkers, I view the area as potentially re-emerging region worthy of great attention, poised with amazing potential. Umbria is sandwiched between Tuscany in the north and the Marches in the south and is home to some of Italy’s most famous wines; like those from the Orvieto DOC. Umbria is also well known in wine-geek circles for producing some fantastically impressive vino from the two of my favorite DOCG’s; one being Montefalco Sangrantino and Torgiano Rosso Reserva.
But as a wine destination, for tourism wine is not the only protagonist for the well-heeled traveler to experience. There’s is a rich History to explore as well. This area of Italy is over-flowing with many traditions that can become inseparable voyage companions of the whole region: places like Montefalco Castle are often an excellent attraction. But, like a lot of Tuscany there does seem to be a bit of disconnect for “newbies” who want to have these experiences, without the help of sometime expensive guides and or restrictive travel packages that move far too fast and really don’t give the traveler to experience Umbria with more depth. What, I’m saying is there needs to be more emphasis placed on producing wine travel roads, clearly marked out to the audience you want to attract now and into the future. [More on this subject in-depth when I present during the conference]
2. Your blog mentions that your dream is to travel through all of the world’s main wine regions; what are you most looking forward to in Italy and where do you hope to go next?
Ha, yes that is my goal and one I am currently on the trail of accomplishing. As far as Italy is concerned, oh-boy I still have much to see. One I’m really looking forward to visiting Umbria; exploring the Montefalco in-depth and the ten other DOC’s found within the boundaries of Umbria. I’ve never been to the north to visit Collio region [Veneto]; an area vastly under-served by the traditional print media. I would also love to visit and relate back to my readers about Piemonte in north-west Italy’s known to many as the foot of the mountains. This area is very special to me; as it contains some of the most age worthy wines in the world. It also just happens to be some of my all-time favorite wines to collect, age and savor. I would love to spend a great deal of time there, exploring and getting to know the folks behind the label see the land and absorb some the culture. As you can see from reading my blog, I really love Italy, the people and the rich traditions. I’m always so happy to return, when I have the opportunity.
3. Your website also says that your mission is to find ‘great juice for reasonable prices’; what regions, varietals or wines have you found that offer the most bang for your buck?
I would say that by far Chianti Classico, Aglianico IGT’s and Super Tuscan style wines are really giving wine drinkers here in the states, some real bargains, while providing outstanding authentic quality. I am so glad that I’ve not really seen the over-produced synthetic chemistry set wines that I often see from some U.S. producers.
4. How did you first get into wine and what about it excites you the most?
I was mostly a beer drinker back in day before I discovered that wine be the one thing that really ignited my passion. My wife [Mrs. Cuvee] took me on a trip the Napa Valley; I was exposed to many of the better winemakers in the valley and soon found out that there’s no other libation that inspires quite like wine. Wine grapes specifically are one of most evolutionary advanced plants on the face of the earth and with each sip you take a step back in time. It really gets people in touch with the things that really matter; it hastens understanding and begs for the explorer in each of us to pursue our passions.
5. Which Italian wines do you hope to see in the Jane Hunt MW Grand Wine Tasting Wines of Italy?
I look forward to seeing the wines from Corte dei Papi; I ran into these wines at a portfolio tasting LA and wow very impressive. I look forward to seeing the more of the wines from Montefalco Sagrantino, specifically from Tabarrinia. Bring on the Barbaresco’s, especially from producers like Produttori del Barbaresco and Dolcetto’s from Pecchenino. Love to run into some of other friends from Brunello di Montalcino; it has been a while since I was there last.
To meet Bill and learn more about where to find the best wines for their money, join the 300 other attendees at the International Wine Tourism Conference in Italy in January. If you are a wine producer bring along some wines for Bill to taste!