Happy New Year!
I’m not a big believer in new year’s resolutions. I find that they stress me out. Who needs that at the start of the year? I know I don’t. But I thought it might be fun to come up with some best practices for wine for 2021. Best practices don’t mean you have to do them. They mean you know what to aim for. So a lot less stressful than resolutions. Here we go.
1. Best Practices for Wine: Expand Your Horizons
If you drink only Winery X’s Cabernet, try some other Cabernets from wineries nearby and faraway. Also, think about trying some new reds. Perhaps Zinfandel. Maybe Petite Sirah.
After a few months of research, you might be ready to add a few new wines to your tried-and-true list. You might also have learned a little bit more about why you love Winery X’s Cabernet so much.
2. Get Geekier About Wine
Wine is all about having fun. But I think it’s very fun to learn about wine. For best practices, I recommend turning on your geekiness a little as you’re enjoying wine. Use an aroma wheel to try to figure out what you’re smelling and tasting.
This is the original aroma wheel, created in 1980. Thankfully, Wine Folly came up with a modern version that is much better. I highly recommend checking it out.
Think about these characteristics and try to identify how much of each the wine exhibits:
- Acidity – if your mouth puckers, the wine is probably highly acidic
- Tannin – if your tongue sticks to the roof of your mouth, the wine has a lot of tannin
- Alcohol level – if the wine tastes “hot” or out of balance, it might be high in alcohol
- Finish – what you experience in your mouth after the wine is gone
- Mouthfeel – e.g., velvety, wooly, silky, oily
When trying a new varietal that you’re not familiar with, try several wines of that varietal to establish a baseline. For example, if you’re trying Chardonnay for the first time, try four or five Chardonnays in a fairly short period and take notes on what you experience. For added fun, make sure to get ones from different areas and include one that is unoaked.
3. Get over your intimidation
Many of us feel insecure around wine. We assume that the people we’re with know more than we do. We feel overwhelmed by the wine aisle at the grocery store. We feel intimidated looking at a restaurant’s wine menu. When somebody says, “Wow, that wine is very acidic,” we sheepishly agree, even though we don’t have a clue what the person is talking about.
It’s hard to enjoy wine when you feel intimidated.
A good best practice is to forget about your intimidation. If you don’t know a term that somebody uses, ask the person for a definition. They will probably be delighted to share their knowledge with you. If you only like sweet wines, and your friends think that’s funny, laugh with them. After all, wine is meant for enjoyment.
If you are a wine expert, be sure to share your knowledge in a very unintimidating way.
4. Relax and enjoy
In this fast-paced world where we often eat and drink on the run, slowing down to savor a delicious glass of wine is truly a gift. My favorite best practice is to use wine to relax and enjoy, especially in this new year.
Cheers to a WINEderful 2021!
As an independent wine consultant with WineShop At Home, I absolutely enjoy bringing a taste of the Napa wine country home to you one sip at a time. Whether you simply love to drink wine, seek a special personalized wine gift, or are in search of a new wine jobs opportunity as a wine consultant, feel free to contact me for a truly unique wine tasting experience!
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