Psyche! They really do love you…a lot. Maps are amazing. They take you outside of yourself- your corner of the room, block, town, country, continent, universe. We are mere mini-bits of the whole, and the big picture can sometimes be refreshing. Can often be everything.
When it comes to wine, and really, to any product of agriculture, practically everything we need to know can be understood through a map. Answers are buried beneath mountains and their height, rivers, streams and the directions they flow, valleys, shorelines, and sometimes transient political borders. As the grapevine made its travels throughout the globe, every area where it settled has developed its own production techniques- especially in the old world, particularly before this new world thing called globalization. Every people and place has worked with what they had, yielding results completely their own. We are so fortunate to still be able to find wines that are manifestations of this natural individuality.
What I’m getting at is that if you really desire to understand wine, you have to look at a map…a good map and a smart map…for as long as it takes to get it. Carry on and live your life. And then look at that map again. It is best to have one handy.
Beyond their usefulness, I personally believe that maps are attractive decor. When it comes to interior design, art is art, and we would all be somewhat dead inside without it- but at the same time, there is something so sexy about having a sliver of the world, contours and all, hanging in your home.
I am a huge fan of maps from De Long (http://www.delongwine.com/index.php). Featuring wine regions, their legal designations, and topography, De Long’s products are detailed and current.