New year's resolutions for the wine year 2010
It is the start of the new year. Time to think about what to do better, what not to do any more and what new things to try. It is time for new year's resolutions! Accordingly, the Wine Rambler committee assembled on New Year's Eve and came up with a list of wine related resolutions. Drinking less, by the way, is not one of them.
As we all know, sticking to new year's resolutions is not easy, so I looked around for good advice on how to succeed. Time for instance offer useful suggestions such as 'Do What the Dalai Lama Would Do', which is explained as follows:
"Between stimulus and response, there's a space, and in that space is our power to choose our response, and in our response lies our growth and freedom," says Marlatt, quoting author and Holocaust survivor Victor Frankl.
If this is the best advice you can get, it is no wonder that only 12% of us still stick to a resolution after a year's time, at least according to a poll by Quirkology. Apparently, men are more successful when their resolution is related to getting attention from the opposite sex (like lose weight), while women do better through peer pressure from friends and family. Time agrees that 'friends who can also be role models' are a key to becoming a better person, and so they boldly suggest 'Get Better Friends'. While we have no intention of getting rid of our wine friends, we would appreciate a little encouragement to help us to stick to our resolutions:
- First, the hardest: Finally seriously educate ourselves about Burgundy. Specifically, find the three to five individual Pinot Noir under 30 € that will broaden our Pinot horizon, and give us a new perspective on the German Pinots that we love so much.
- Try a few interesting German sparkling wines without waiting for something to celebrate.
- Learn more about the German wine regions we do not regularly venture into, for instance Saxony and Swabia.
- Try more from lesser-known French wine regions like the Jura or the Loire Valley.
- Taste blind more regularly, and honestly confront the utter subjectivity of the wine tasting experience.
- Keep an eye on what's happening in eastern Europe.
- Focus more on really matching food and wine.
- Learn more about wine and food photography.
- Continue the search for an English wine to get really excited about.
- Keep an eye out for esoteric 'German' grapes and also for wines made from varietals Germany is not usually associated with (such as Syrah, Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc).
These are our top ten resolutions for the wine year 2010. Do you think we should be doing something else instead? Have we forgotten the most important things in wine life? Perhaps more importantly, what are your wine resolutions for 2010?
Good call on the Jura!
Here's my list for this year:
In reply to Nice list by Jake
Thanks very much for the comment, Jake! On your list, I found the British Columbia and Ontario Rieslings fascinating. Canadian Riesling would definitely be something to explore too, but in our case it may have to wait until 2010... Having said that we are always happy for suggestions!
2. For German sparklers I would turn to Terry Theise's portfolio. I trust his palate implicitly.
4. The wines of Languedoc-Roussillon can also be intriguing, and often great values.
5. I have repeatedly ranted about the lack of "utter subjectivity" in wine journalism despite the fact that it's what wine tasting is all about. Be true to it.
8. There are several blogs with tutorials and suggestions about improving food photography...seek them out.
9. Chapel Down has some wines worth talking about. Posted about English wines not long ago: http://bit.ly/wSrdt
In reply to suggestions by Katie
Thanks for the comments! I have tried one Chapel Down so far, which was not bad at all, but - like most English wines I have tried so far - felt a little too expensive for what it was. Obviously, I am not going to judge their range of wine from just one bottle though; the hunt continues.
While I am looking for English wines, my co-rambler Julian keeps an eye on France - let's see what he will dig up and whether he can be tempted by Languedoc-Roussillon. If you were interested in the Wine Rambler's version of a subjective wine review, have a look at the recent lost in translation - Greek wine post.
Luckily, we do not need to rely on Theise as importer as we get (at least some of) our wine directly from German wineries; but it will be interesting to see what he recommends.
I am now going to have a look at your post on English wine!
In reply to suggestions by Katie
Katie, while we have no need of Terry Theise's services at the wine rambler, we certainly salute him as an entertaining voice on german wine, and a fellow rambler. Read one of his catalogues cover-to-cover once. Verbose and hilarious. Viewed critically by some in Germany, though, because his considerable influence on growers is seen as streamlining winemaking towards a fruitier, off-dry or sweet style of Riesling, while a good many wineries and journalists advocate the quest for powerful dry Rieslings as the way to greatness within german wine. Funny how international and home-grown perceptions can diverge.
Languedoc-Rousillion is an interesting case for me, because that is what I looked to overwhelmingly when I first got into wine. Have been disenchanted a bit in the last 2 or 3 years. But I've stayed loyal to Gauby especially, who is my north star in the region for freshness and focus. So any recommendations more than welcome!
As someone who is not a wine
As someone who is not a wine expert nor even a very regular wine drinker, I can think of one thing that you afficionados of German wine might write about at some point that would be useful to me:
I have tended to avoid German wines because they have a reputation for being sweet, light, sparkly, and other things that I don't really like in my wine. Even some deep reds I've been introduced to have these traits. So prove me wrong: what German red wines (with a particular German flavour) might appeal to someone whose tastes normally extend to a dry and fruity South African Cape Cabernet or Merlot?
More broadly, break the stereotypes (which I'm sure any real wine-lover would have overcome long time ago anyway).
In reply to As someone who is not a wine by Gabriel
Gabriel, wonderful. A challenge, a quest! You could start with one of our wines of the year, a classy dry red that contains some Cabernet and Merlot, together with the german Lemberger grape, and that comes with none of the weaknesses that have bothered you, but with a posh latin name: Ex flammis orior - out of flames I rise. But we will also rise to your bait in 2010 and find another international-style red from germanic soil that can break your stereotypes, which are not unique to you and are not always unfounded, either. Check back on our progress from time to time!