More kudos to hand out on the regional wine front:
• Dena Peterson, the chef at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, is putting together a dinner to honor the great Diana Kennedy, the doyenne of regional Mexican cuisine and one of the most important people in the history of the regional food movement. And the wines at the dinner? Regional, of course. Peterson told me she needs to finalize the list with Kennedy, but not to expect to see anything from Europe or California; instead, Texas certainly, Mexico probably, and perhaps something from South America. Peterson is to be commended, especially since so many other chefs doing similar dinners think the wine world ends at the Napa and Sonoma county lines. If you're in the Fort Worth area August 13, go to the dinner. I was lucky enough to interview Kennedy several years ago (negotiating the Mexican phone system in the process), and she is the kind of person who impresses even those of us who are difficult to impress. I can still hear her fussing me for daring to suggest that some store-bought tortillas are of decent quality.
• The inestimable Todd Kliman has fired another broadside at the local food movement and its hypocrisy when it comes to local wine -- and in the cyber-pages of the tony Local Beast. (It's not often I get to link to something that chi-chi, is it?) My favorite bit of Todd's article: He quotes a sommelier as saying "The quality in most of these wines you're talking about is just not that great." Todd's rejoinder? "The quality of most wine isn't that great." My experience, when sommeliers say silly things like that, is that they haven't tasted local wines in a while and are basing their opinion on a wine they tasted once about 10 years ago. Or, worse, they have tasted regional wines recently, but went into the tasting with their mind already made up about how bad the wine was going to be. Which is how the Wine Magazines do it.
• Perhaps the most important recent development was the announcement that the Wine Bloggers Conference, which has traditionally been as California-centric as possible, will hold its 2011 event in Virginia. Yes, that Virginia, where DrinkLocalWine.com staged its 2010 conference. My cohort in DLW, Dave McIntyre, is characteristically modest about the role we played in the process, but I don't mind taking our fair share of the credit. Heck, even the Virginia people are giving it to us. Dave and I got a very nice note from Annette Boyd of the state's wine marketing board, which sponsored DLW: "I’m not sure that we would have been on anyone’s radar if it weren’t for the Drink Local Wine conference. This has been an amazing opportunity for Virginia wines. Thanks guys."