New Year’s resolutions bug me: much too ambitious and made in haste. To ensure success this year, try these fun-to-keep wine-related resolutions.
1. Keep a wine journal. This summer, I was a guest at a dinner honoring a wine salesman and bon vivant who won his battle against cancer. We had several remarkable wines that night and after each, he pulled out a black leather notebook to record his notes. Whether it’s our baby’s first words or our first grand cru Burgundy, our memories are fallible no matter how unforgettable the moment feels.
2. Travel within your backyard. With 1,000 acres under vine and more than 20 wineries, our Monticello AVA (American Viticultural Area) is bursting its barrel with talented winemakers, unique varietals, and stunning backdrops. Get to know them.
3. Travel beyond your backyard. How else can you travel to Colchagua Valley, Chile one night and Valle d’Aosta, Italy the next night? Try grapes you’ve never heard of from regions you’ve never been to—Plavac Mali from Croatia, anyone?
4. Ignore the scores. Vow to trust your palate again. The most important thing to know about wine is what you like and that is as easy as tasting wines without the influence of others.
5. Drink more sparkling wines. See last week’s column, but in summary: a) they are prolific and affordable, b) they are the perfect food wines, and c) they are downright delicious.
6. Don’t fear big, sweet wines. Why are we so scared of fortified wines when a Fino Sherry with some Marcona almonds is one of life’s yummiest combos? Same goes for Madeira or Port with Stilton or dark chocolate. Keep a bottle around to nip on and you’ll celebrate the next blizzard.
7. Eat more cheese. So many cheeses, so little time.
8. Pair wine with everyday cuisine. Don’t think Tuesday’s turkey meatloaf deserves a glass of vino? Keep everyday wines on hand for everyday meals and you’ll be amazed at just how exciting meatloaf becomes.
9. Make friends with a wine retailer. Our town is blessed with dozens of wine shops run by people with oodles of professional drinking experience. Tap their knowledge, try their recommendations, share your thoughts and you will forge one of the most satisfying relationships of your life.
10. Plan wine nights with your friends. Great minds drink alike, so gather your friends for a blind tasting or pairing dinner. You will learn something new and have fun in the process.
11. Buy wines for your cellar. My husband and I recently shared a 2001 Barolo with friends who had been aging it in their closet, somewhere between her running shoes and his climbing gear. No matter the space, there are many wines worth buying and saving for a rainy day, eight years later.
12. Drink wines from your cellar. Don’t save a bottle for a special occasion when opening that bottle is a special occasion. Life is short and wine is made to share and enjoy.