Our New Year’s custom is to reflect back on the past year and resolve to be healthier, wealthier, or to be a better friend or spouse.
Though wine is not nearly as important as these virtues, it certainly has its place in many of our lives. Whether an avid collector or an aficionado of “Two Buck Chuck,” any level of wine consumer can choose to create a seminal wine moment by paying heed to the following wine resolutions in the New Year.
… to experiment with at least one wine region or varietal per month that I am unfamiliar with. I will taste these wines with an open mind and won’t expect them to be like my everyday tried and true.
… to avoid calling all sparkling wine “Champagne.” Champagne is unique in flavor and texture and comes from the region of the same name in France. I will drink more sparkling wine from all over the world, and drink it on a Tuesday when there is nothing in particular to celebrate.
… to enjoy more reds from Washington State. The merlots, cabernet sauvignons, and Bordeaux blends from Washington are truly special and about half the price of similar quality wines from the Napa Valley.
… to be a better taster - to pay attention to what I consume and think about what I am enjoying. Appreciating wine to its fullest potential means enjoying the hedonistic as well as the cerebral aspects of the beverage.
… to feel OK about ordering a beer at a restaurant. Many winemakers will tell you that it takes a heck of a lot of beer to make great wine. If it is good enough for them, it is good enough for me.
… to drink more rieslings. It is the world’s most important white grape for a reason. Besides, some of the world’s best can be had for under $40.
… to refuse to buy wine off a restaurant list that is marked up 2.5x-3x retail. I will notify the sommelier or restaurant manager of my decision because I deserve to enjoy what I am drinking without being unfairly gouged for the pleasure.
… to taste an aged wine alongside a youthful vintage of the same label. I will notice the textural and aromatic differences between them and educate my palate as to the virtues as well as the beneficial limits of aging wine.
… to purchase one expensive bottle of wine and share it with close friends without it being a special occasion. Quoting Maya’s character in the movie “Sideways” - “You know, the day you open a ’61 Cheval Blanc - that’s the special occasion.”
… to try 2 new styles of dessert wines. Port is fantastic. So are German TBA’s, Hungarian Tokajis, and Sauternes.
Being steadfast with this list will make anyone a better taster and a more worldly wine consumer, not to mention having created some lasting memories for an intimate group of friends. Of course, the most important thing experienced by those who follow these wine resolutions is a heightened level of physiological and intellectual bliss with each and every glass which will last far beyond this New Year. Salut!