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.
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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.