On Fridays, Deb Harkness of Good Wine Under $20 drops by with Serious Grape. This week, she suggests some resolutions to expand your wine repertoire in 2009.
It's 2009. With the new year we make all kinds of resolutions—to lose weight, balance our checkbooks, spend more quality time with friends. Some of these resolutions we keep. Most we forget before the end of January.
I make a new set of wine resolutions every January to help lift me out of any wine ruts I've fallen into over the past year. If you're interested in making some wine resolutions of your own, I've got three suggestions to help you think your way to a whole new experience of wine in 2009.
Explore New Regions
It's easy to find yourself drinking wine from one or two regions. Maybe it's because your favorite store specializes in that region. Maybe it's because you don't know much about wine and are afraid to branch out. If this sounds like you, pick a wine region—any region—that is unfamiliar to you and make a point of trying wine from that region when you get a chance. It can be as easy as making your next wine-by-the-glass pick not your familiar California Merlot, but an Argentinian Malbec. If you love Pinot Noir, for instance, why not explore the red wines of Austria? If you love big, bold reds why not give the reds of Chile and Argentina a try? In 2008 I tried to learn more about Italian wines, and have been particularly impressed by the whites, so if you are a white wine drinker head to Italy or Spain for zesty, aromatic whites that will blow all the cobwebs off your taste buds.
Explore New Varieties
If I had a dollar for every time someone told me they only like Chardonnay, or don't touch any red wine except Cabernet Sauvignon, I'd be a rich woman. There are hundreds and hundreds of wine grapes out there in the world—try some! If you love Chardonnay, try Viognier. If you love Sauvignon Blanc, try Albarino. If you like Cabernet Sauvignon and haven't had Tempranillo yet, you're in for a treat. Ask me in the comments, or approach any good wine merchant and ask them to suggest a new grape for you to try based on your current favorite. You may discover your tastes are a lot more flexible than you think.
Explore New Wine Stores
Sometimes all it takes to get you out of your wine rut is to stop by a new wine store and see what they have on the shelves. I experienced this first-hand just last week when I was in New York and had the chance to stop into Sherry-Lehmann and browse their shelves. I left full of plans to drink more wine from France's smaller appellations—places like the Loire and the Languedoc that are often overshadowed by Bordeaux and Burgundy. You'll always go back to your favorite merchants—after all, you know and trust them—but just a quick trip across town or attending a Saturday afternoon tasting at a new store in your area will give you a fresh perspective on the world of wine.
What are your wine resolutions for the new year?
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