New Year’s wine resolution time. Refreshingly, many of these resolutions can last past the time the ink dries on the newsprint. Several were made and kept in previous passages from one chapter of the Gregorian calendar to the next.
• Fill the new year with different wines. Finding something new, surprising, great value, impressive taste and complexity are the most exciting elements of life’s journey into wine. People often ask what is my favorite wine. Answer: all wines not yet tasted, all wines roads not yet traveled, all adventures that await.
• Try wines you swore never to drink again. Maybe you soured on riesling in its treacly sweet incarnation back in the 70s and 80s and vowed never to risk diabetic coma again. That is not today’s riesling. There are many widely available dry rieslings with great acidity that are fantastic food wines. Furthermore, they retain riesling’s fruit sweetness—different from sugar sweetness, a palate-fooling illusion rather than a residual sugar reality—which plays well with wine ingénues.
• Reach for rosé. Similar to riesling, rosé sullied itself in times past. Today, it is serious wine, and it works all year long, not just in summer. Sparkling rosé wines are real winners.
• Sail to ports unknown. Porto—port wine made in Portugal, Madeira—unique wine made on the Portuguese island of Madeira, and sherry—fortified wine made in the city of Jerez de la Frontera in Andalusia, Spain, are higher alcohol and carry some sweetness, but their sweetness is balanced by acidity. You don’t kill one of these bottles during a meal, but they can fantastically cap an evening. They also are some of the most sophisticated and aged wines you will ever drink. Some Madeira wines age for half a century before winery puts them on the market; normal retail products age for 20 years. Sip history.
• Enjoy whatever you enjoy. Some members of the wine establishment and some wine drinkers think drinking wine is a contest. Tasting wine is a personal, individual experience. You bring variable taste buds, history, levels of knowledge to your sip. No judgments here. If you enjoy it, it is good wine for you. Wine bullies are to be pitied, not feared.
Last round: If you listen carefully next month, you can hear New Year’s resolutions being broken all over the world.
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