Happy New Year!
Well..OK, she is--not me. My idea of a great New Year's Eve is really good wine, really good food and a few friends. And this year we had all that. Much to my surprise, we made it 'til midnight and the ball drop. Since I found the drivel on television leading up to that unwatchable, I amused myself looking for New Year's Eve hats. We wore them briefly--long enough to shout "Happy New Year!" Followed soon by "good night!"
Today, New Year's Day, brings the annual report of what's out and what's in. In DC, that list graces the front page of the Style section in the Post. I look forward to it, because I always find it educational. For example, the list of what's "out." I learn from it because I didn't know those things were ever in. So I may be late, but now I know. And the list of what's "in." I learn from it because I've never heard of most of them. For example, according to the Post, Cara Delevigne eyebrows are out and Kylie Jenner lips are in. Great news! Whoever and whatever that is. Talking raccoons are out and rolling droids are in. OK!
I did note one wine reference. Apparently, sour beer is out and orange wine is in. Now you're in my territory...my reaction: well...sort of. Orange wine--white wine that spends time on the skins (common for red wines, not whites), picking up hints of amber-ish color--has been around a long, long time and has been a coming trend, popular with somms and wine geeks, for a number of years. Perhaps the most celebrated current orange wines are those of Josko Gravner from Venezia Giulia...though he does not like the term orange wine--he thinks it trivializes the process, which in his case is a return to the way wines were made long ago. They--and he--have achieved cult status. Has orange wine achieved mainstream status? Nope. Will it in 2015? Nope. Perhaps we might see a little more of it than we have in past years, but it's not really going to be "in" for most people. Maybe it's on the list because you can sound cool predicting it since most people will say "what's that?" (the way I do about almost everything on the list).
Doesn't really matter. It's fun to read. But I do see change over time in wine taste--in others and in me. And while it probably doesn't line up on an annual basis, the changing of the year provides an opportunity to think through that change.
So, with that, my list of what's out and what's in with 2015!
Pumped up, inflated wines.
Arguing about alcohol levels.
Wines that are expensive because of their status.
Buying wine from box stores.
Celebrating the best of less popular grapes and less popular regions.
Broadening wine horizons.
Finding hidden gems.
Recommendations from people I know who know wine.
Buying wine from people, made by people (family wine shops/family wineries).
As I say all that, for myself I worry most about the "wine ruts." We all have them. Initially, they may be the pleasant, ripe, affordable wines--perhaps the large-production cabs or the Kendall-Jackson chardonnays. We evolve. Perhaps our go-to reds become pinots or syrahs and our whites become sauvignon blancs. And they get better in the categories. But those, too, can be ruts. And, even knowing this, as we broaden, we can drop into new, inadvertent ruts. To really know a grape or a region, you need to drink a reasonable amount of it. But you also need to keep your eye, and your taste, moving. I'm enjoying some great chenin blancs from the Loire Valley. I need to buy/try more of them. But I also need to heed the little voice in the back of my head that's saying "rut danger!" Just because the rut may be "more sophisticated" doesn't mean it's not a rut.
My New Year's wine resolutions? Be more "first-hand." Explore more. Think for myself more. Buy more wine from people I admire. Share more.
Oh, and then there's laugh more, love more, and live more! But that's not just about wine. Happy New Year!