With the 2013 in the rear-view mirror and 2014 finally upon us it’s time for the yearly exercise of making New Year’s Resolutions. “This year I’m going to go to the gym more often.” “This year I’m going to cut back on my coffee addiction.” “This year I’m going to quit smoking.” Some of these resolutions are kept, many are not. Today I’m going to give you some resolutions that will be very easy to meet because they involve drinking wine (yay!). It’s time to get out of the rut. Every year we go back to the tried and true favorites that we’ve been drinking for years. These wines are great, but wouldn’t it be nice to branch out and try some new things? Who knows, maybe you’ll find a new favorite. With that in mind here are three wines you should resolve to try in the New Year.
This year I resolve to try a Viognier from California. While it’s no secret that the best and most sublime Viogniers come from the Rhone Valley in France, California producers are putting out offerings that are absolutely delightful and often times at a lower price point. Bodega Rancho Viognier ($19.99) is no exception. The grapes are sourced from the Santa Lucia Highlands which is more widely known for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. This wine is wonderfully delicate and lively but is no shrinking-violet. The nose is beautiful, floral, and expressive. But that’s nothing compared to the taste. A flood of citrus and passion fruit washes over your taste buds while bright acidity dances on your tongue like a troupe of ballerinas. This wine is fresh and invigorating and is begging for some shellfish.
This year I resolve to try an Italian white that isn’t Pinot Grigio. It’s an old standard that Pinot Grigio. It’s light, it’s dry, it’s citrusy, and it’s boring. There are some good ones out there, but Pinot Grigio is but a small part of the whole Italian white wine scene. There are tons of great wines that many people just aren’t aware of. One of my favorites is the Masseria Li Veli Verdeca ($17.99). Sourced from Puglia—the heel of the boot—this wine is everything you want in a dry white wine. The nose is punctuated with honey, peach and apricot. On the tongue you get a wonderful acidity that is highlighted by citrus and grass notes. This wine is fresh, bright, and lively. The finish lingers and has a hint of stone fruit. What’s interesting about this wine is that the Verdeca grape actually comes from Greece. When the ancient Greeks crossed the Adriatic Sea and settled in Italy they brought their native grapes with them. This winery is dedicated to re-introducing some of those grapes back into Italian society. If you’re grilling some Chilean Sea Bass, this wine is for you.
This year I resolve to try a European Pinot Noir that isn’t Burgundy. When so many great Pinot Noirs are coming out of Burgundy it’s easy to get tunnel vision, but there are amazing Pinots just next door. Germany has really stepped up their game and is churning out the most exciting wine right now (in my humble opinion). What has really led the charge is the World-Class Pinot Noir that is being produced. The Kunstler Pinot Noir ($24.99) is a great example of just what the Germans are capable of. The grapes are sourced from the Rheingau region which is east of the Mosel. The nose is delicate with notes of cinnamon, cloves, and that great “funkiness” that is present in some amazing Burgundy Pinots. This wine is woodsy and mineral driven. There is a crisp acidity that adds freshness and makes the wine great for food. Speaking of food—if you want something to go with pork loin look no further than this little gem.
New Year’s Resolutions don’t have to be grueling and arduous. Sometimes you can have fun while enriching your life. These wines will definitely help you to branch out from whatever wine rut you happen to find yourself in. I look forward to seeing you in the store and would be happy to talk with you about any of these wines or others that we carry. Happy times and happy drinking! Cheers!
Rob R., Beltramo’s Wine Consultant