Every New Year, I make—and break—several resolutions about exercise or housecleaning. However, I also make a resolution or two about wine, which have always been easy to keep because they’re fun. Here are a few of my favorites that you can try this year.
It’s easy to get into a rut with wine and buy the same brand every time. But the pleasure of wine is in its diversity. If you like full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon from California, try one from Argentina, or even a different robust red, such as an Argentine Malbec.
Urban Uco O. Fournier Malbec 2011, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina
A vibrant red with good acidity and rich red fruit aromas and flavours. It’s ready to enjoy now with a steak or hamburger. Great price. Food matches: grilled gourmet hamburgers, sausages. Drink: 2012 – 2016 166371 14% XD 750 ml $14.95 Score: 88/100
2. I resolve to cut calories
Both alcohol and sugar contribute calories to wine so if you want to cut back, look for dry wines with low alcohol, such as a dry Riesling from Washington or Germany. They have plenty of taste on the lips, but don’t stay on your hips.
St. Urbans-Hof Ockfener Bockstein Riesling Kabinett 2011, Prädikatswein, Mosel, Germany
A spectacular white bursting with personality! Lovely balance of acidity for food and peach blossom. Try it at least once. Drink: 2012 – 2016 216622 9.5% XD 750 ml. $21.95 Score: 90/100
Chilean Chardonnay and South African Shiraz are among the best deals in the liquor store. They’re not as fashionable as say Bordeaux or Tuscany, but you’ll get terrific quality for your money.
Calina Reserva Chardonnay 2009, Aconcagua Valley, Casablanca Valley, Chile
A terrific chardonnay, especially for this price point! Lovely aromas of green apple, some butter and just enough oak to make this a toasty, full-bodied (but not heavy) package. Food matches: roast pork, lightly smoked turkey breast. Drink: 2012 – 2015 640912 13.5% XD 750 ml. $14.95 Score: 87/100
4. I resolve to entertain more with less fuss
You don’t need to cook a multi-course dinner to invite friends over this year. Just crack open a bottle of your favorite wine and serve it with different cheeses. It’s a quick and delicious way to entertain.
Gabbiano Castle Vineyard Chianti 2011, Tuscany, Italy
Full-bodied and smooth with dark red fruit and smoke. Good acidity for food. Food matches: pastas with mushroom sauce, aromatized white meat, roast lamb, or half-mature cheese. Drink: 2012 – 2015 78006 13% XD 750 ml. $13.95 Score: 86/100
5. I resolve to drink local
Benjamin Bridge Benjamin Bridge Estate Vero 2010, Gaspereau Valley, Nova Scotia
Very crisp and mouth-watering with come-alive lime aromas and flavours. Sun-dappled lemons dance on the finish. Food matches: Nova Scotia seafood, Malagash Oysters, Digby scallops, Fundy lobster and line-fresh haddock. Drink: 2012 – 2014 695555000188 11% D 750 ml. $21.99 Score: 88/100
6. I resolve to have more fun
Wine is all about pleasure. Try some new and surprising combinations this year, such as Champagne and potato chips or oaked Chardonnay and buttery popcorn!
Seresin Chardonnay 2009, Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand
A lovely toast almond on the nose mingles with green apple vibrancy. Full-bodied, mouth-watering and food-friendly. Lovely dry peach on the finish. Drink: 2012 – 2016 19190 14% XD 750 ml. $24.95 Score: 90/100
See all wine reviews here for a Happy New Year!