If you are reading this, you survived New Year’s Eve. Well played, fellow wine swashbuckler.
As new wine adventures stretch before us, goals to consider. Not “resolutions” because that would doom them from the start.
• Experiment. Regularly drink something new, something from makers you never tried. It is the only way to discover your next go-to favorite.
• Drink wines from places you’ve never tried before. Virginia has a thriving wine industry, so does Finger Lakes region of New York. Israel makes good wines, and not super-sweet stuff you expect. South Africa is growing wine power, so is eastern Europe. Searching for them is enjoyable adventure.
• Texas wines keep improving. Yes, you probably get better value-for-price from Argentina-California-France-Spain-Italy. But your friends and neighbors are building an eco-friendly, sophisticated industry worthy of your support. Time at a Texas winery-tasting room is about as much good times as most people can handle, and much more affordable than a trip to Tuscany or a sojourn to Sonoma.
• If your dainty palate currently only deigns to drink light and sweet, expand your wine world. Let your freak flag fly just a little. Rosé is the Next Big Thing—more sophisticated than white zin, far less mouth-mauling than California jammy-tannic-oak monsters that turned you off to red. Worth a buy try.
• If your regularly pour a California jammy-tannic-oak monster that faces down thick steak without a blink, back off the accelerator a bit. There’s more to wine than pucker-producing, alcoholic strawberry-grape jelly. Taste how a grüner veltliner goes with grilled veggies (including asparagus), or how a medium-dry riesling plays with fresh Texas peaches, or how vinho verde sips around a swimming pool.
• Don’t cry for Argentina, drink their malbec. There is no better quality-price ratio.
• Be brave. Splurge on a higher-priced pour. Intimidated? Get help from wine shop (or even this column) and go for it. If you have a somewhat sophisticated palate, you’ll notice when you pay extra you can get more layers of flavors. You also may confirm a 60-dollar bottle is better, but not five times better than your 12-dollar favorite. Not a bad lesson.
Last round: Some things are best left unsaid at New Year’s Eve parties. Well, last night I drank a lot of sparkling wine. Please, let’s move on.