New Year’s Resolutions for the Wine Lover

wineresolutions

What are YOUR New Year’s Resolutions as a wine drinker?  Amusée’s wine pal, Ms. Karina Roe, regular blog post contributor for our team, has a few to offer your palate!

IMG_4613New Year’s Resolutions for the Wine Lover

I’ll just come right out and say it: New Year’s Resolutions suck. I know I’m not alone when I say that I’ve failed miserably every single time I’ve attempted to keep one. They make me super excited in January, but I know I’m being set up for failure as soon as February hits.

My hunch is that I’m just not setting the right resolutions. Sure, I like to pump iron and run laps just as much as the next person, but if I “have to” do it, then I wimp out and start making excuses. I have a pretty balanced diet already, but if you tell me I have to cut my carbs in half and not eat quiiiiiite so much cheese, I can feel the slippery slope already forming.

 But if I set resolutions for things I’m already excited about, then I’m a shoe-in for success! We know that we love wine already, but there are always little things that can help us broaden and deepen our experiences with the libations we adore so much. So, I’ve come up with 6 Resolutions for Wine Lovers for you. May your New Year be filled with new and tasty delights—and much Resolution-ary Success!

IMG_28051) BRANCH OUT. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut when it comes to wine. There are so many choices out there… how are you supposed to make sense of any of it? It makes logical sense to go with something safe, comfortable and familiar. Make it your goal to try one new grape per month. Discover Portugal! Explore South Africa! Plumb the depths of Italy’s multitudes of grape varieties!

If you really want to challenge yourself, try revisiting grapes or wine styles that you gave the ax to long ago. Try MERLOT. Many of your fellow IMG_2962wine geeks in the area are saying 2016 is the year of Merlot! Give RIESLING another shot. There are SO many beautiful expressions of this grape out there—many of them dry!—from Germany, to Austria, to Australia, to the Finger Lakes of New York. Regain your faith in CALIFORNIA CHARDONNAY. There are swaths of vintners all throughout California making balanced, elegant, high-quality Chardonnay these days. Check out Steve Matthiasson, Enfield Wine Co. or Brea by Chris Brockway for some great examples.

2) ORGANIZE. Cut down on the number of times you walk into a bottle shop and have to say, “I’ll recognize the label when I see it!” And if you remember a couple key things about why you liked a particular wine, it will help guide you to new wines within that same vein. The #1 most helpful thing you can do is to take pictures and put them in an album of wines you want to remember! For the tech-savvy, check out helpful apps like Vivino or Delectable to read and jot down your own descriptions and ratings. For the non-tech-savvy, save receipts! Buy a cheap (or expensive) journal and make it a practice to scribble a quick note about what a wine did or didn’t do for you, what you paired it with, etc. Being able to look back and recall a taste-memory is an ultra-valuable skill.

3) LEARN TO APPRECIATE. It’s scary at first, but try to assign just a couple descriptors to whatever it is you’re drinking—good, bad or otherwise. Is it fruity? Dry or sweet? Does it go particularly well with the food you’re eating with it? Wine can serve many purposes, but we can gain greater appreciation for what it is if we give it a couple moments of our time when we first encounter it. Take note of your surroundings—the environment you’re drinking in. Is it a jovial atmosphere with good friends? Is it a quiet night in front of the fire? How does your personal state affect what you think about the wine?

If you’re up for a little extra digging, do 5 minutes of research on the wine you’re drinking instead of simply going on to the next thing. Open an atlas, Google the producer, check Delectable or Vivino to see what other people are saying about it. Your wine wants to be known and loved!

Expand your wine experiences to include a wine class or two (I know a great lady that could hook 11036200_1702516319985057_2242347889747001831_nyou up…)! There’s no better way to learn how to appreciate wine than to glean knowledge and tasty sips from some of the best experts that Minneapolis/St. Paul has to offer. You’re also bound to meet some fellow wine lovers in the same boat you are—all the more fun to learn and sip together!

4) ASK QUESTIONS. We have so many great resources to use here in the Twin Cities, it’s silly not to take advantage of them. Pick the brains of the server at your wine bar. Request a recommendation from the sommelier for the wine they would pair with your meal, and why. Ask a trusted wine shop employee ALL of the questions you’ve ever had. They would love nothing more than to geek out on the wines they love. They’re there to help you navigate the unfamiliar waters of the wine world, and there is NO question too silly, too stupid, too basic… or too technical!

5) FIND YOUR “SPOT.” Discover a place in your neighborhood or general area that you want to keep going back to—whether it’s a bottle shop, wine bar, or restaurant. I have a few favorite spots that have opened up within the past year that I’d love to share with you soon (stay tuned!). The #1 coolest thing about the wine world isn’t actually the wine itself—although that’s a major perk. If you ask me, it’s about the relationships you can build, and the connections that are possible. Wine is the connector, just like music or art. Befriend a wine pro, somm or bartender, or just another friend or acquaintance who’s also caught the wine spark. Basically, include other people in your wine journey and enjoy the ride.

6) HAVE FUN. More than anything else, keep wine FUN! Pair your wine with leftover pizzaIMG_3839 and fish sticks. Play old wine board games. Break food and wine pairing rules. Host blind tasting competition parties. Keep your wine life exciting.

 Cheers to 2016—the year of SUCCESSFUL Resolutions!

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