The global village has become a fact, for better or for worse. Take one example: When I'm away, I can monitor my office online via a Web cam, a nifty device that puts a crimp in my staff's extended lunch breaks. Better for me, worse for them. And my cable guy informs me that, thanks to global networking, I can watch sessions of the Ukrainian parliament on satellite TV. But, wait, I don't speak Ukrainian.
Being a part of an electronic village has other drawbacks, too. For one thing, there are those people who insist on forwarding you the latest e-mail chain letter, or the faux-savant who invented the labyrinth called voice mail. It's a brave and dangerous new world. Thanks to high bandwidth connections, an electronic virus created in Thailand can infect a PC in Peoria in a matter of nanoseconds. And how the holy motherboard did I get signed up on a list-server for rodentology?
Fortunately, for those who tire easily of information overload, there are a few old-fashioned villages left. I get to visit them frequently in my wine travels and meet their resident winemakers. Many of them are notorious Luddites who, thankfully, have resisted the headlong plunge into the byte-infested future. Here are three bottles from a trio of real-life wine villages.
2001 DR. LOOSEN REISLING KABINETT BERNKASTELLAR LAY ($17)
Seen from one of its nearby vine-covered hills high above the winding Moselle River, Bernkastel looks like it's right out of the 17th century. This small French village, with its timbered houses and steep slate roofs, is linked by a bridge to the larger town of Kues across the river, creating one of the most picturesque views in winedom. Ernst Loosen, who took control of his family's wine estate here in 1988, has become a leading force in the Moselle region. (He's also been active in the New World, where he makes wines with Washington State's Chateau Ste. Michelle.)