Betty's Wine Musings
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Happy New Year! In the tradition of making new year’s resolutions, I’d like to propose a set of wine resolutions.

1. Expand your horizons

If you drink the same wines religiously:

  • Try new varietals – For example, if you only drink Chardonnay, try Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris.
  • Try new producers and new regions – If you’re not ready to venture away from Chardonnay, try Chardonnays from different wineries and different regions (e.g., different parts of CA, France and Australia).

After a few months of research, you will probably be ready to add a bunch of new wines to your tried-and-true list. Of course, you might decide that your old favorites are still your old favorites. But in the mean time, you will have discovered many wonderful wines, and you will probably have a better appreciation of why your favorites are your favorites.

2. Say goodbye to intimidation

Many of us feel intimidated by wine. We assume that everybody knows more than we do. We feel embarrassed looking at a restaurant’s wine menu. We feel overwhelmed by the wine aisle at the grocery store. When somebody says, “Wow, that wine has a lot of tannin,” we sheepishly agree, even though we have no clue what tannin is.

It’s hard to enjoy wine when you feel intimidated.

In the new year, I encourage you to say goodbye to wine intimidation. If you don’t know a term that somebody uses, don’t sweat it. Ask the person for a definition. You’ll find that wine aficionados love to show off their wine knowledge. 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, please share your knowledge and help others enjoy wine.

3. Become a student of wine

It’s so much fun to become really engaged in the tasting experience. Go into serious research mode. See if you can figure out what you’re smelling and tasting. Look for fruits, vegetables, spices, nuts, chocolate, earth, leather and more. If you smell or taste a fruit, try to figure out what kind it is. Berry? Tropical fruit? Stone fruit? If you determine that it’s a stone fruit, is it apple, pear, peach, apricot or something else?

It’s very helpful to keep a wine journal with you and take notes each time you try a wine. In addition to taking notes on what you smell and taste, take notes on your experience of

  • Acidity – if your mouth puckers, the wine is probably highly acidic
  • Alcohol level – if the wine tastes “hot” or out of balance, it might be high in alcohol
  • Tannin – if your tongue sticks to the roof of your mouth, the wine probably has a lot of tannin
  • 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 Pinot Noir for the first time, try four or five Pinots in a fairly short period and take notes on what you experience.

4. Take a deep breath, 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. Take your time, involve all your senses, relax and really enjoy your wine-tasting bliss.

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!

Cheers, Betty Kaufman
WineShop At Home

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  1. Make 20 new wine friends this year to share the love of the grape and learn more
    Read two massive wine books I have to get more educated
    Experiment more with tastings and sharing with others
    Buy what I love not the experiments
    Budget for wine
    Take one vacation that centers on wine

  2. Thanks, Betty, for the new ideas to approach wine in 2011. I’m definitely stuck on my varietals, but I’m open to trying and finding new brands that I may like even more. And thanks for breaking down the wine definitions, which I’m clueless about when wine tasting with friends. It’s good to know that when matters isn’t necessarily the term but the taste on the tip of your tongue.

    Happy New Year!

    1. I am hopeful that this year will be a growth year for all of us. As I commented to Lee, a wine tasting with me would be a great way to check out new varietals 🙂

  3. Betty, these are great suggestions and what a lovely way to relax into the New Year and stretch our wings. Since my hubby doesn’t drink wine, I usually enjoy a nice glass when we go out to dinner. I’m now encouraged to include a glass each night with dinner at home; what a concept! Love your knowledge and enthusiasm. Best and welcome to the New Year.

  4. Thanks, Betty! Good ideas. I’m ready to branch out.
    I love the idea of trying out wine from different regions.
    Would make shopping for it so much more fun too!

  5. Thanks for the info- as always you are entertaining and educational at the same time. I will pay better attention to the wines I am drinking and really try to try new ones!

  6. I love the idea of tasting different types of wine. I have a tendency to stay with what I know and what I like but that can get boring. I resolve to try some different types of wine in 2011.

    1. I fully support you in your resolution 🙂 Take a look at my Fb posts today. I’m talking about an incredible sounding dessert wine from Hungary that I’ve never tried. I think a group of us will need to try it.

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