By now, you’ve broken all your well-meant 2015 resolutions, right? You haven’t done a lick for world peace. Haven’t trimmed an inch off that muffin top. So here’s a new, more practical resolution you might be able to keep.
Repeat after me: “I resolve to expand my knowledge of wine, to find wines that are new to me, to eschew the same-ol’, same-ol’ wines I’ve been drinking. At least once a month, I will try a wine I’ve never had before.”
I’m not proposing anything radical. I don’t say you should dig up a bottle of ravat blanc or couderc noir just to impress your wine pals.
Just live a little. Make a modest bucket list. Try something other than Americans’ cliched top five wines of chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon, merlot, red blends and pinot grigio.
Don’t you think you’ll be happier if your go-to list has 50 wines on it rather than five?
A nice way to while away a gloomy winter Saturday is to visit your local wine shop and challenge the clerk to show you a wine you’ve never heard of. Buy two or three, go home and put on a tasting.
To get you started, here’s a list of somewhat-but-not-extremely-unusual wines:
▪ 2013 Zocker Grüner Veltliner, Edna Valley: extra crisp, even zingy, with aromas and flavors of green melons and minerals, this little-known wine may be heading for cult status among sippers who fondly call themselves “grooner” fans; $20.
▪ 2013 Smith-Madrone Riesling, Napa Valley: light and lively, very dry, with aromas and flavors of ripe peaches, green melons and minerals; many consider riesling the world’s noblest grape; Americans just don’t know much about it; $27.
▪ 2013 Tangent Albariño, Edna Valley: pale hue, crisp, intense flavors of white grapefruit and minerals, this is California’s version of the great seafood wine of Spain’s Atlantic Coast Galicia region; $17.
▪ 2010 Vaza Crianza, by Solar Viejo, Rioja Alavesa (tempranillo): bright red hue, medium body, aromas and flavors of tart cherries espresso and anise; rioja is Spain’s classic wine; $17.
▪ 2012 Jamieson Ranch “Whiplash” Zinfandel, Lodi: deep dark red hue, rich, hearty flavors of red raspberries and cinnamon, full bodied and generous, a great wine for meatloaf, pork roast, barbecue, grilled burgers, pizza and such; $15.
▪ 2013 Mirassou Moscato, California: sweet and extra fruity, with aromas and flavors of ripe peaches, mangos, pineapples, oranges and honey; this is the wine of 21-somethings, even the hip-hop crowd; $12.
▪ 2012 Niner Estate Syrah, Paso Robles: rich, hearty black raspberry and vanilla aromas and flavors, full-bodied, this is a California version of the grape that made France’s Rhone Valley famous; $30.
▪ 2012 Pedroncelli Sangiovese, “Alto Vineyards,” Dry Creek Valley: dark and hearty, with aromas and flavors of oak, black plum and licorice, full-bodied, this is the California version of the grape in Italy’s Chianti wines; $16.