I accepted a press trip to a region I was nosebleeding to visit. This is a confession worthy of the new 12-step meeting, AWA: Addicted to Writing Anonymous. With no magazines paying expenses, with no trust fund in my past or future, or juicy divorce settlement, there was also no room to be holier than thou so I said, yes, please and thank you. Here's the pickle. Many of the publications I write for forbid sponsored trips. I find them uncomfortable but paradoxically, as a freelancer, especially in these times, I find them useful... for research. For some background. But get a story out of it that is suitable for one of my publications...for me that is like draining a lake with a slotted spoon. No, a return trip is always necessary. Anyway, back to the matter at hand. The trip was five days and in order to squeeze everything I could out of the opportunity, I spent two, very happy weeks over in France and Switzerland. I loved being there and did not want to come back. I bounced around a lot and did not rent a car. Instead, I hopped around on an easy Rail Europe passGanevat, Puffeney and Overnoy Gorgeous Trousseau, by the way. Bistro de la Tournelle 5 Petite Place teL 03 84 66 25 76 Other benefits? For sure. You know, at a tasting, unless I try not to, I self-select and limit my experience to wines within my comfort zone. In the Jura, I'd only have gone to vin naturelia. Sad, but true. That would have meant I wouldn't have understood the gestalt of the area, just the naturel impact. (I would have believed that everyone made wines of life and transparency and no one wanted to compete for international flavors). The biggest crime, however, would have been missing those wine-guys who do gorgeous work and not on my radar. It would have been such a loss not to have had drunk those of Bourdy. The 1952 Arbois rouge? My heart, be still. Or would I have had such a range of Vin Jaune vs. Chateau Chalon? Would I have ever known that there was a Ludwig Bindernagel? And for the next Jura posts, please know that everything I wrote was experienced while I was the guest of the lovely people of the region. Yes, contradictions exist in the world. Even though I wanted to run away, I was also very happy to be there. And I thank them very much for including me.