My apologies for the prolonged absence. I underestimated how much my day job and the retail wine job would take out of me – time and energy – during the holiday season. I am back and excited for the new year!
I took some time out from reading up on financial crises and greedy Ponzi schemers in the Wall Street Journal to enjoy a wonderful article from the fab wine writing duo of Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher. Yesterday’s article was a suggestion of 20 “to-do’s” related to wine for 2019. All were simple to execute and a great reminder that one of the best parts about wine is trying new things.
Try a wine from a country whose wines you are unfamiliar with – I love this idea and try to do it whenever possible. Perhaps you might add a state to that as well. There are always diamonds in the rough out there, be it from Brazil or Iowa. Drop me a note if you find one!
Go to a wine bar and have a flight of wine – and if you happen to be in Dallas, stop by Cork Wines in the West Village and visit me! I’ll be happy to give you some suggestions of wines try. We serve 48 different wines at any given time and rotate those wines every 3-4 weeks on a rolling basis. Our best station is the staff picks. You would not believe how competitive we are when it comes to choosing those wines each month! It’s a matter of pride…
Order the cheapest wine on a restaurant’s wine list – the concept is that since people don’t want to be perceived as cheap, most usually order the 2nd cheapest wine which is usually the worst value. I understand the point, but think this “to-do” is less essential than others.
Open a sparkling wine at home without needing a special reason – this is a definite must that the staff at Cork Wines has no issues accomplishing. Sparkling wine is fun and interesting. Try a cava or prosecco for some great quality values and repeat my favorite toast – “The world is my/our oyster!” What a great way to start a lovely dinner or outing with friends.
Take notes on a fine wine from beginning to end – wines change and often what you taste upon opening is no longer the case an hour later. Sometimes for me just ten minutes later. But have fun with it and never take tasting notes too seriously.
Have a Sauternes – this wonderful desert wine is one of the most labor intensive wines made, but truly worth it. This is a good reminder to myself to try some more as budget permits.
Have a blind tasting – I love blind tasting, but it is truly the most humbling experience. You can have a group of friends all bring some wine over covered in bags. If you want to try it a little more informally, come visit me at Cork Wines. I’ll be happy to set you up with a blind tasting based on your budget and the wines available on our tasting stations and even give you a sheet to help you write your notes.
Organize your labels – from wine bottles that is. A fine notion and being and organizing type person, you would think this would appeal to me but alas this is probably one that will slip by me.
Visit the winery closest to you – another great idea! I’ve been to one in Georgia but have yet to hit any of the wonderful choices here in Texas. So I will plan to and be sure to post about the visit.
Attend a winemaker’s dinner at a restaurant – I have not done this so it’s hard for me to comment on it. In this recession, I feel like I want to spend my money wisely. I think it is a nice idea but I have a food allergy which so often is hard to handle at large, pre-set dinners.
Have fun with stemware – not much to say about this, except that you could serve the same wine in some different glasses to see if you detect any change in the wine. Riedel has been known to do this experiment with their glasses to show consumers why certain stemware is important. I would be interested in trying it out.
Find a new wine store – well, you can’t expect me to let this go by without saying that if you are in the DFW area and haven’t visited Cork Wines yet, you should. The store works on finding truly interesting wines beyond the norm.
Try a varietal you’ve never had from a US winery – I say no need to restrict it to a US winery per se, just try new varietals. Have you had a Malvasia? No? What’s stopping you?
An Either/Or: Have a case in the house or start drinking up that collection – apparently there are two types of wine drinkers, those that buy a bottle at a time and those that just keeping buying bottles. If you are the former, buying a case should net you a discount. At Cork Wines, a mixed case of 12 wines will be discounted by 20% and a mixed half-case of 6 wines will net a 10% discount. Not a bad deal. If you are the latter and have quite the collection, don’t let it go to waste! Make sure to drink up the wines before they are past their prime.
Go crazy on a wine pairing for dinner some night – this could be an interesting experiment. What’s the craziest wine and food pairing you’ve tried that worked?
Try an older white – many whites are made to be drunk fairly quickly but many are age worthy. Try out a somewhat older white. Note the color of the wine and taste.
Try a type of wine you think you don’t like – it is so easy to write off a wine because the first one you tried wasn’t to your liking, but try again. You may find it was just the vintage or style of that particular winemaker. We all fall into this trap. There are so many choices of wines out there and it is too hard to keep them all straight so the path of least resistance is to just not drink “Merlots” or “Italian reds.” Try again. You may find your tastes have changed as well. Your tastes should ebb and flow (so to speak) over the years.
Get a new corkscrew – with all those new-fangled crazy wine openers out there, you have plenty of choices. I’m still partial to the double-jointed waiter’s corkscrew. But they do wear down, so a new one may be in order.
Serve a desert wine at a dinner party – with desert of course unless you find a great white Porto to serve as an aperitif. I love this idea with the twist of serving an interesting aperitif instead.
Go over your price limit – just once they say. I say, if you haven’t tried a more expensive wine, try one to at least experience the difference that comes from higher quality.
Definitely wine for thought (sorry, couldn’t resist). Would I add anything? This list is fairly all inclusive. If anything, I would simplify the list and continue the focus on trying something new and having fun. Isn’t that wine is all about? Here’s my simplified list:
Try a varietal you are unfamiliar with
Try a wine from regions you haven’t tried before
Introduce a friend to a new wine
Try a wine with a food you wouldn’t have thought to pair it with
If you don’t drink whites/reds, try some whites/reds and see if you can find a new favorite in that category
Try doing a blind tasting for the fun of it
Try some wine exercises to help your palate grow
Above all, which ever you choose, do not ever stop having fun with wine!