I'm heading to my other happy place: the beach.
With the winter solstice-not to mention most of the winter holidays-safely in the rear view mirror, the dark of night should ever so gradually be giving way to longer daylight. Gradually. Nevertheless, the dark of night found me walking downstairs for a glass of water, passing our front hall window, and happening to look out upon a sizable deer looking IN about ten inches from the window. I’m unsure which of us was more startled, but I was instantly wide awake. Maybe she was checking out our light-up lawn reindeer? I guess I’ll never know….but I do know I won’t be peering out that window at night any more. It can be my first New Year’s resolution.
The rest of my resolutions are of a liquid nature. I resolve to pay more attention to the wines of Alsace: dry, powerful Rieslings and spicy Gewurztraminer, but also Pinot Gris that is much more complex and interesting than most of its Italian cousins. And I’ll continue to enjoy the incredible bargains coming out of Bulgaria and Moldova, but will also be on the hunt for wines from Hungary, Croatia, and Slovenia. These former Eastern Bloc nations have exponentially upped their quality game, and pricing hasn’t caught up (yet). I’m keeping a close eye on Lebanon for similar reasons.
I’m going to drink more Vermouth, and not just in cocktails. Some of the new craft vermouths-I’m thinking of you, BroVo-seem tailor made for a simple spritz, whether with sparkling wine or sparkling water. And Amaro. Definitely more Amaro, and not just because I hand-carried a bunch of them back from Sicily. These digestivi are great on their own, and equally amazing as mixers. Maybe in a Boulevardier, using some great Rye? We’d suggest our private cask of Mad River. By the way, I resolve to drink more New England Spirits-the quality is at an all-time high, and why not support your neighbors? Mad River, Smugglers’ Notch, Privateer, Flag Hill, Beaver Pond-the list keeps growing.
I’ll probably still talk about Volcanic Wines and Bubbly and Port all the time, but I’m putting my best promotional efforts into Sherry this year. These nutty, complex fortified wines of southern Spain are a revelation; you should definitely try them. Just try them judiciously- they can easily hit 18% or more abv. On the opposite end of that spectrum, I’d like to offer some beverages with more moderate alcohol content. Whether that means an easy little Beaujolais, a crisp Piquette, or a refreshing Pilsner is up to you. But whatever you pick, take it to the beach, take it on a hike…. take it wherever you like to relax.
About relaxing….that’s my last resolution: relax and enjoy some Classics. I like the occasional orange wine or pet nat as well as the next person. But I don’t always want to work so hard for my wine pleasure. Classics are classic for a reason-they’ve proven themselves over the last several centuries. So when I don’t want to do the mental work of ferreting out the Next Big Thing, I’ll grab a bottle of Bordeaux. Or Sancerre. Champagne, Chianti, Barolo, Mosel. Because sometimes easy is way better than hipster and cool.
If any of these ideas sound good to you, come on in! We like to share. Stay tuned, because we’ll probably host tastings on most of these themes. And steer clear of the deer.