10 for 2020: Wine Resolutions for the New Year
UNDER THE INFLUENCEDr. Konstantin Frank Sparkling Célèbre (Non-Vintage) This wine, which I tasted this past summer, hits a number of resolution points: It is from a region (upstate New York) that I would like to visit; it is made from a grape (Riesling) that I normally don’t drink in sparkling form; and it is bubbly, which guarantees a smile. Made by one of the pioneers of the Finger Lakes wine region, the bubbles burst with flavors of stone fruits, including peaches and nectarines. Summertime in a glass.
Usually when people make New Year’s resolutions they are more about doing less than doing more.
Things like losing 10 pounds by eating less, or drinking less, spending less money and quitting smoking top the list of resolves that most folks make to begin a new year. And there is nothing wrong with any of that. But studies show that less than half, about 46%, of people actually achieve their stated goal.
I considered this as I began to plan my 2020 wine resolutions and it occurred to me that if I set out to do more, not less, then I may have a better shot at success. Not drink more, mind you. I do enough of that for certain. But rather to do more things that will enlarge and expand both my knowledge of and my appreciation for good wine. More is the answer.
So without further ado, here are my 2020 wine resolutions:
1. TASTE MORE WINES FROM MORE REGIONS
We all have a tendency to get stuck in our boxes, drinking wines from, say, Napa or Tuscany or Champagne. But in this, the third decade of the 21st century, there are so many places making good wine that it behooves us to do a bit more exploring. Like California reds? Think about the Amador Hills, a region that has been making wine even longer than Napa and is producing some great zinfandel and Italian varietals.
In the first week of this year, I eschewed some more established by-the-glass offerings for a selection from a winemaker on the Canary Islands and ordered a 2016 Monje Listán Negro Tradicional. It was delicious with my squid ink pasta and I will endeavor to learn more about the wines of the Canaries.
2. BUY MORE AUSTRALIAN WINES
There was a time when Australian wines were the darlings of drinkers. But love soon turned sour when a flood of cheaply made Yellow juice turned the tide. In recent years, however, the Aussie exports have shown a return to quality. But that’s not why I am I bullish on buying more wines from down under. No, the recent and ongoing firestorm has created a crises and one way to show support is to buy wines from the Barossa, Hunter Valley, the Mornington Peninsula, and especially the Adelaide Hills, which were hit hard by the fires.
3. EXPERIMENT WITH MORE GRAPES
I, probably like you, drink my share of chardonnay as well as too much cabernet and pinot noir. It’s time to expand horizons. Be it vermentino from Italy, Chassalas from Switzerland or even a Malbec from Argentina. It’s time to travel in a glass.
4. SPEND MORE TIME IN WINE SHOPS
It’s so easy to find wines online these days. And bargains are always available in the big box stores. But the stories and soul of wine lives in the shops where local wine experts ply their trade. I find the more time I spend in a wine shop, the more I know about wine.
5. PAY MORE ATTENTION TO THE POLITICS OF WINE
These are troubled times and, though wine is the great escape, there are issues surrounding the wine world we need to focus on. Tariffs top the list, but local laws, cannabis issues, and climate change are all a part of the wine world these days
6. READ MORE ABOUT WINE
In the 8,000-year history of wine, there has never been more information available about any and all aspects of the subject. The trick is to eliminate the wheat from the chaff, or perhaps more to the point the stems and seeds from the juice. Editing is a challenge, but finding sources, and writers, you like and trust is the best way to enhance your knowledge of wine.
7. DRINK MORE WATER WITH MY WINE
One glass with each glass of wine. Every time. Simple enough.
8. TRAVEL TO MORE WINE REGIONS
This is more of a wish than a resolve, but there is no better way to enjoy wine than to travel to the places where it is made, walk the vineyards and meet the winemakers. There is a personal connection that comes from drinking wine from a place you have been that can last forever. I hope to make more of those connections in 2020.
9. DRINK MORE BUBBLES
It’s almost impossible not to smile when drinking wines that sparkle. They just seem to force the corners of your mouth to turn up. Be it Prosecco, Cava, Lambrusco, or of course Champagne, mixing more of these wines into your drinking regime can only be a positive.
10. SHARE MORE WINE WITH FRIENDS
Of all the resolutions made this year, this is the one I hope to keep the most.
Cheers and have a great new year in wine.