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Learn About Wine While Sitting In Your Other Office

The view from...well, you know

I have a few friends who are resolving to learn about wine this year – for real this time, they say. They promise to buy some Jancis and Johnson books, study some maps, sip some wines – all the things that true oenophiles do to  get their heads around a particular region. Yet I realized relatively recently that the typically challenging region of Bordeaux is more familiar to me now than it has been in years. The reason isn't because I've been studying the Bordeaux map for an hour or so before bed each night – it's because someone here at the Lot18 office, about a year ago, posted a large map of Bordeaux in one of our bathrooms.

Yes, I know this sounds completely ridiculous, if not outwardly TMI. But I have to be honest: When taking care of business in my (ahem) other office, there's a giant map of the world's greatest wine region facing me just two feet away. Stare at any map, in any room, for 10 minutes each day with no distractions, and your geographical comprehension of the covered area will get stronger.

Go ahead, quiz me. Where is Barsac in relation to Sauternes? Or Lalande-de-Pomerol in relation to Pomerol? Is Fronsac west or east of Pomerol? I could rule at Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? if she happened to disappear to a château.

Now, I'm not suggesting that you do the same in your home (though, how you decorate a wall across from your Kohler is entirely up to you). But several friends and I all started learning about wine by reading books on the subject in the hour before bed. Even just a few years ago, though, there were no tablets or smartphones to check before drifting off. Nowadays, it seems as if every minute of every day is filled with an attempt at grabbing our attention – some of it voluntary, some not.

So if you really do want to learn about an interesting or challenging wine region, it's done best in a time and place where there are no distractions.I seem to have found mine, unintentionally. I hope yours has no one knocking on the door, asking you to hurry up.

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