As my first wine blog of 2011, I thought it made sense to share some “wine New Year’s resolutions” I made for 2011. In no particular order, they are:
1. Drink the Chardonnay in my cellar much earlier
Readers will know by now that I am a big fan of oaked Chardonnays, with their wonderful creaminess and hints of vanilla, butter and nuts. However, what I have found over the last couple of years is that even the best/most expensive versions from around the world are not aging all that well (despite what some of the wine “gurus” might recommend). Instead, I have found that the oak overwhelms the fruit even after only a few years. So, starting this year, I will drink these wines younger — no more than 2 – 3 years of age — to ensure I enjoy them!
2. Make another attempt at Spanish Garnachas
For some reason, the style of Grenache-based wines from Spain just hasn’t worked for me. Maybe its the amount of oak used or some strange aspect of the “terroir”, but I have trouble finding the fruit in the wines a lot of the time. This despite the fact that I love Grenache from France (Chateauneuf du Pape may be my favourite wine) and Australia (where there are some beautiful Grenache/Shiraz/Mourvedres being made). And, at the same time, I know that some of the best bargains in the wine world are Garnachas from Spain. So this year, I will try again…and report back on whether my palate is changing at all!
3. Don’t buy any more Bordeaux
I realize this will seem like heresy to many “winos” out there, but — with increasingly rare exceptions — I continue to be really disappointed by the Bordeaux I have been drinking from my cellar. I’ve tried drinking them young and old, from various different grape mixtures and appellations but the result seems to be the same — a “cedar sandwich” (as one of my last wine tweets described). So no more Bordeaux for the cellar!
4. Look for and try wines from BC’s “other” regions
I was so impressed with the wineries and wines from the Similkameen Valley and Vancouver Island during my wine trips last summer. Both the quality and prices of the wines were very good, and it was refreshing to find so many vintners in both areas not falling into the “monster red wine” trap ((i.e. making wines that are so tannic you can’t taste the fruit and which will never resolve enough to be enjoyable). While these wines are not as readily available as those from the Okanagan, they are obviously worth checking out.
5. Take more care in recording my wine comments
As I did the annual browse through my wine binders (pulling out recording sheets for wines that will be tried this year and putting back in those from 2010), I was struck once again by two things. First, my wine journals are really a “diary of my life”, as they highlight not just the wine but when I drank it and what the occasion was. Births, deaths, special events — all are included with wine as the common backdrop. However, I also found that many times my notes and comments have been scribbled down too fast, often to the point that I can’t read my own writing. As a result, I resolve to take more time — and care — with how I document things in 2011 to ensure I will be able to read about it clearly in future years.
6. Don’t feel the need to finish drinking a wine I don’t like
Wine is one of the great pleasures in my life, not for any status or pride reason but because I love the taste. It is something I really look forward to at 5 pm each day, as I pour my wife and I a glass and consider the day that was (and the dinner/evening to come!). On the rare occasion that the wine I open is really not my style (or perhaps has deteriorated just a little too much in the bottle after being open for a day), it is really a disappointment. But this year — no more! If it the wine really doesn’t work for me, on to the next bottle! As my website says “Life is too short to drink bad wine”.
There you go, a few personal — and simple — wine resolutions for 2011. If you haven’t done so, you might want to make a few of your own!