Wine ruts

Confession: this writer easily succumbs to a vexing vino vortex.

That is state where you consistently swirl around a specific wine or grape variety. In spite of efforts to sip new every day, malbec ruled the past year in my decanter. It has been delicious, but it has not been pretty for someone trying to serve all wine lovers, even those who swoon over sweet and reject red.

Examine your own wine conscience; you probably are guilty, too. You go to wine for pleasure. You find something: a grape, a maker, one particular bottle that consistently delivers. Why stray?

You know there is more, there is something unexplored and wonderful over the horizon, but—gosh—you also know that yesterday’s bottle was welcoming, wonderful, comfortable, delicious and, shoot, isn’t that what wine is all about?

No judgments here. There are wine lovers whose wine orbit can be counted on fingers of one hand, not using thumbs. Pour away.

Same time, it would be wrong to discourage forays into vino terra incognita. That’s how you stumbled onto the stuff you cannot live without today. Maybe—probably—same magic will happen again. Be brave. Sip something new.

Wine shop owners are the prime source of adventure. Tell them what you like, ask them to recommend something similar but different. They love to help you—that’s a reason they are in the business.

If you are someone who never asks for directions no matter how lost, blindly stumbling into places new and different is nothing new. Cowboy up. Pull cork on something you have not tried before.


• Noble Vines 446 Chardonnay 2010. Apple, pineapple, apricot; clean-crisp acidity, creamy-silky-medium body; easy toasty oak; nice value. $11

• Mont Tauch Fitou 2008. Good, fresh red fuit, earthy, develops w/decanting; carignan-grenache-syrah; tame acid, gentle tannin; good value. $15

• Turn 4 Cabernet Sauvignon 2010. Flashy fruity: black currant, raspberry, cherry, blueberry, plum; soft tannins, good acidity, lush mouth. $17