Sunday, December 31, 2006

New Year's Wine Resolutions

Happy New Year! It's time once more to make some resolutions for 2007. Rather than bore you with the perennial (lose weight, exercise more), the prosaic (organize files, balance checkbook regularly), and the preposterous (learn to play cello), here are my wine resolutions for the upcoming year, and they even seem like resolutions I can keep. (vintage image from Caaren Charles)

1. Drink More Sparkling Wine: As the recent WBW #28 proved, there is a lot of good, affordable sparkling wine. Sure, it's all on sale now since most sparkling wine is purchased in the US between December 1 and January 1, but a wide range of bottlings is available at attractive price points all year. The world of sparkling wines shouldn't be about just the holidays. With all the wine preservation gadgets out there, it really isn't any more difficult to keep sparkling wine in the fridge for 2-3 days than any other wine. And, how many other wines go with food as well as champagne? It's as appropriate for a caesar salad as it is for lobster or some simple grilled chicken. I'm going to make a point of keeping some affordable sparklers on hand to pop in the fridge so that every day can be a celebration.

2. Keep Drinking Unfashionable Wine: Back when Merlot was fashionable and you could get domestic Pinot Noir for a song, I drank Pinot. Now that Pinot is fashionable and prices are sky-rocketing, I'm drinking more Syrah and Gamay. One of the best budget wine tips around is to drink unfashionable wine. Readily available wines that are for the moment unfashionable include Gamay, Petite Sirah, Chenin Blanc, Riesling, and Gewurztraminer. Fashion is fickle, so of course one of these will soon become fashionable, and then I'll turn to something else. But it's always a good idea to keep track of trends--and then drink something else! Added benefits: keeps you from falling into a rut, and enhances imaginative thinking about wine, since you are drinking what you discover you like and not what the marketing machine is telling you is "hot."

3. Get to Know Spain: Over the past year I've only bought three wines from Spain, and I gave two of them away without drinking them. That's a situation I need to rectify, since Spain produces interesting, food-friendly wines at great prices. I'm going to learn more about the varietals of this ancient wine-growing region, and drink more of them, too. I've got five bottles of red in the cellar, ready to be tasted in 2007, and will be buying some whites soon.

4. Take the Leap into Burgundy: This year a very dear friend gave me a 2003 Vincent Girardin Echezeaux. I was so awed at owning this wine, that I stuck it in the cellar to think about how best to drink it and realized I have a major case of Burgundy Anxiety. OK, the high prices on Burgundy on the west coast of the US (lots of shipping miles for a fragile wine) don't help. I drink lots of Beaujolais, which is technically from Burgundy, so this is clearly something I could get over if I put my mind to it. I am now the proud owner of 4 bottles of wine from Burgundy: the afore-mentioned 2003 Echezeaux; a 2005 Domaine Raymond Dupont-Fahn Auxey-Duresses; a 2002 La Chablisienne Chablis; and a sparkling rose cremant de bourgogne. This year I am determined to do a little more reading, buying, and tasting to learn about the wine. I will probably not become a regular drinker of Burgundy wines any time soon, given their scarcity and cost, but I would like not to break out into a rash at the mere thought of them.

What are your wine resolutions for 2007? What old habits are you going to try to break, and what new ones are you going to replace them with?

13 comments:

Sonadora said...

Spain is great! I have 2 favorite under $20 bottles of white from there. One is a $9 bottle called Las Brisas and it is full of lovely grapefruit flavors. The other is Nora, runs around $14 here and is generally a a great white that even my red only friends enjoy. I discovered both when I asked the salesperson to point me to some crisp, not sweet whites. Good luck!

Dr. Debs said...

Thanks for the recommendations--the trusty chain Beverages & More has them both. The Las Brisas label is a hoot--love the life preserver--and grapefruit is right up my alley. I'll be going over there this week to pick them up.

Guanaco said...

Hey, I resemble that remark about learning to play the cello...

Kate said...

I am with you on drinking the unfashionable wines. My current love is Malbec. Superbly delicious and outrageously cheap. I should probably keep my mouth shut about it though, or suffer the consequences.

And Spain? Yes, agree wholeheartedly. Plenty to explore there.

Dr. Debs said...

Welcome Guanaco and Kate. Guanaco, great site, and I'm inspired to think my long-standing resolution to learn the cello is not completely hopeless! Kate, I'd love any recs you're willing to part with on the Malbec front. I have a Bodega Norton waiting for me, but I often find them a bit too dusty (for lack of a better descriptor). I understand wanting to keep the finds to yourself, of course!

John said...

If you're looking for a tasty everyday malbec, check out Trapiche. Their basic malbec goes for around $8-$9 around here and I think it's quite good.

cookingchat said...

good resoltions! I'm also resolved to vary my wine selections more in 2007. I'm pretty varied in terms of varietals, but as you can see on my posted top 10 list, I lean heavily toward American wines at this point. I'd like to get to know Spain better too, so will be interested to see what you find!

Dr. Debs said...

Hi John and David! Happy New Year. Thanks for the Malbec tip, John. I'll have to see if I can find it out here. And I'll have a Spanish wine next week. Sonadora from Wannabe Wino left some good tips for Spanish whites and her site has some other great Spanish wines, too, so check it out!

el jefe said...

Not only less fashionable varietals but less fashionable regions - I'm going to try and try Long Island (check what Lenndevours is doing on that), Virginia, and North Carolina if I can...

(I tried to work my own less fashionable region - Calaveras County - into this comment, but it kept sounding awkward. Oh well.)

Dr. Debs said...

Welcome, el jefe! I think Twisted Oak counts twice--I had a great 05 Verdelho of yours at our favorite restaurant, Firefly Bistro in South Pas, thanks to a recommendation from the floor staff. Looking forward to tasting the Rosado next. Did you guys do a wine dinner there, or are you doing one soon?? I think Carl was telling me about it, and hope that it was in the future (not the past) tense!

el jefe said...

hi Doc - sorry, but the dinner has already happened (I believe it was actually an anniversary dinner for them.) I know we're always up for doing dinners so maybe in a couple months when we roll out some new *%#&@! we can do another one.

I grew up right near South Pas so I am back in that area now and then. We should try and run into each other! Maybe gather up some folks and make our own wine dinner some night?

Dr. Debs said...

El Jefe, sorry for the slow reply. Work. I know, but it buys the wine! Anyway, I didn't know you were from round here! I'll put in a plug with Carl to get you back to Firefly ASAP, or if you're down here give a shout (email in sidebar) and I'll buy you a glass of your own wine at the Firefly bar (if you can survive being seen with a terminally unchic 40-something!)

Trevor McCallin said...

Thanks for the recommendations. Great blog. How on earth do you have time to publish that much info!