Friday, January 09, 2009

Today on Serious Grape: Breaking Out of Your Wine Rut

Are you in a wine rut? Are you so deep in your wine rut you don't even realize it?

It's easy to let this happen. One day you're curious about wine, and the next you wake up and discover that you've had nothing but Zinfandel for three months. Not that there's anything wrong with Zin! But variety is the spice of life--or so we're told. (photo by poolie)

If you fear you are in a wine rut, head over to today's Serious Grape column, my weekly contribution to the food blog Serious Eats, and check out my three suggestions so that you can make sure 2009 is not only a new year--it's a new wine year, too. Pick one suggestion, and make it your New Year's wine resolution.

While we're at it--anyone want to confess that they're in a wine rut? If so, leave your thoughts in the comments section below.


Anonymous said...

In these times of delightful economic follies, we disposable twenty-somethings often find ourselves temporarily out of work. Young Winos, therefore, are sometimes forced into wine ruts by financial immobility.

Right now, following some indulgent holiday times, I find myself in one such rut. To cope, I've embraced the 2005 Epicuro Aglianico (Beneventano), currently my favorite wine for $5 or less. Insane QPR on this smoky red from Campania; it's got a huge black cherry nose and lovely dark chocolate all over the medium-bodied pal. (I recommend letting it breathe for a good hour or so!)

Anonymous said...

Great post! I think one of the best ways to get out of a wine rut is to ask a local retailer to mix up a case for you with certain parameters. Say "$200 or less, and I'd like to expore Chile, Spain and France outside of Bordeaux and Burgundy". What I've found after drinking a good portion of said mixed case is that I enjoy my old favorite "rut" varietals in a new and better way, and I've hopefully learned about new wines that might be my next rut.


Loweeel said...

While I drink (and collect) more PS than probably most people would consider healthy or wise, I do drink plenty of other wines -- Cab, Zin, various Spanish, Portuguese, light-bodied Italian varietals.

Dr. Debs -- I have a QPR stunner for you, as well, way off the radar, that you just have to try. Even better than the depth and layers of flavor is the way the wine evolves with oxygen, but remains delicious all the while. Dehesa de Rubiales 2005 Prieto Picudo.

Anonymous said...

As you touched on in your Serious Grape post, there seem to be more people out there who are in a wine rut than not. I think that most of the people I know who don't happen to actually be wine enthusiasts of one kind or another stick to just one type of wine -- just chardonnay, just cabernet sauvignon, or just merlot and often from the same vineyard each and every time as well.

Some people are not really big on change and prefer the familiar, but I find that a lot of those people stay in a rut because they'd rather stick to what they know and like instead of take a chance on something that might not measure up. Your suggestions are all great and make for easy, comfortable ways to branch out.

If you're the type of person who wants to make a change but isn't completely sure in regards to what direction you might want to branch out, I really like Bob's suggestion to ask your local wine merchant to pick out a selection within certain parameters. I've actually done something similar in the past and discovered some exciting new vintages as a result.

I'm also, as you know, a big believer in wine clubs as a way to expand one's wine horizons. They come in all types and all price ranges and can make a wonderful gift for that friend we all have who is stuck firmly in their personal wine rut as well. We make it our business over at to find and review our favorites for people who are looking for fun ways to discover new wines.

As for my personal New Year's wine resolution, I'd like to explore the wonderful world of shiraz a bit more. I've always been more of a merlot of cabernet person, but lately I've had some shiraz varietals that have knocked my socks off and made me want to find more like them. I'd like to see what other treasures I can dig up on that front in 2009 for sure.

Chris Townend said...

If I find myself getting rutted I have a couple of strategies to move me on:

(1) change your vintner - treat the new wine shop like a new book shop and browse away 30 minutes looking for something different;

(2) Change the red to white - find a white rioja, or a white Chateauneuf-du-Pape, you get the idea.

Getting out of your wine rut is like going to the gym, the hardest part is making the effort to change.