Thursday, January 7, 2010

Expanding your Wine Horizons in 2010

Last year, the the Wall Street Journal's now-no-more wine writers, Dorothy & John, created a list of 20 things you should do in 2009 to expand your wine horizons.  This year, they added 6 more (21-26).  I don't know if I could have written a better list, myself, but I did tack on a couple extras (27-30).  How many are you going to attempt this year?
  1. Try a Wine From a Different Country
  2. Go to a Wine Bar and Have a Flight of Wine
  3. Order the Cheapest Wine on a Restaurant's Wine List
  4. Open a Sparkler at Home for No Reason at All (I am a firm believer in drinking Bubbly whenever possible!)
  5. Take Notes on a Fine Wine From Beginning to End
  6. Have a Sauternes
  7. Have a Blind Tasting
  8. Organize Your Labels
  9. Visit the Closest Winery to Your Home (I amazed by how many people tell me they live within an hour of a winery and have never even visited it)
  10. Attend a Winemaker's Dinner at a Restaurant
  11. Have Fun With Stemware
  12. Find a New Wine Store
  13. Try a Varietal You've Never Had From a U.S. Winery
  14. Either: Have 12 Different Bottles in the House at Once Or: Drink Up (If you are the average American and don't have more than a couple bottles of wine in your house at a time, go buy a mixed case.  You'll find it comes in handy when you have company or have the craving for a glass of wine.  But if you already have a cellar going, make it a point to drink some!)
  15. Go Crazy on a Wine Pairing for Dinner Some Night (Let me know if you want some help with this one!)
  16. Try an Older White
  17. Try a Type of Wine You Think You Don't Like (This one is great.  There are so many styles out there for each varietal, that there is likely one for you.  Hate Chardonnay? Try one that is unoaked.)
  18. Get a New Corkscrew
  19. Serve a Dessert Wine to Guests
  20. Shatter Your Price Limit
  21. Try wine from a different state. (If you can find something from somewhere other than CA, WA, OR  try that.  There is good wine being produced in nearly every state these days!)
  22. Next time you are making a special meal, go to two good wine shops and ask them to match the main course with a wine in a certain price range. (Love this mini-'smackdown' challenge.)
  23. Take a wine trip. 
  24. Truly engage a sommelier at a fine restaurant. (I love when people would ask me questions and seem like they genuinely wanted to know more about wine, my job, etc. Often, I would give them a little taste of something different, if they were really cool.)
  25. Do a little research on a wine before or after you drink it.
  26. Go to a mass tasting.
  27. Take a bottle to a restaurant and pay their corkage fee.  (Grab that bottle you've been saving for a "special occasion" and take it with you to your favorite restaurant.  Be sure to offer the sommelier/server a taste - they'll really appreciate it, so long as there isn't a policy against it.)
  28.  Go to a wine shop, give the owner/manager/employee a price range, and tell them to "just pick something". (You'll probably get a reply along the lines of "Oh, I don't know where to start" or "Well, what do you usually drink?", but just tell them you want to try something new and that you are totally in their hands.)
  29. Enjoy wine outside.  (Take a bottle with you on a picnic, BBQ, or camping trip.  I just love how wine tastes with fresh-air.)
  30. Drink Rosé! (Too many people think that pink wine is for sissies, but dry rosé is one of the best food-friendly wine styles out there.)


  1. I tried #28 this summer. We went to our fav wine store and told proprietor to give us something different and refreshing. He sold us a Voinger ( not sure of spelling) We went home, sat on patio and opened wine. OH ICK. We did not like it. Tasted like grandma's lavender sachet. Different stroke for different folks. But we did try.
    aka BonBon

  2. Hey, at least you tried, indeed! Way to be adventurous!

    Viognier can be extremely floral and sometimes seem as though you are drinking perfume. Since you don't find that characteristic appealing, I would also steer clear of most Torrontes - another perfume-y varietal.