Customers enjoy a glass of Beaujolais Nouveau in Bayonne

Expand your wine horizons

A lot of New Year’s resolutions are about reduction — shedding pounds or lowering debt or cutting back on stress. But for wine enthusiasts, the resolving should be about expanding, especially one’s horizons. Among the options worth your consideration:

A lot of New Year’s resolutions are about reduction — shedding pounds or lowering debt or cutting back on stress. But for wine enthusiasts, the resolving should be about expanding, especially one’s horizons.

Among the options worth your consideration:

Get out of that rut: If you only drink chardonnay, try some viognier or chenin blanc (or a blend of those two). If you switched from merlot to malbec as your go-to red in recent years, give merlot another chance. If you’re crazy about New Zealand sauvignon blancs, check out what’s emanating from France (Touraine or Bordeaux or, for a few dollars more, Sancerre or Pouilly-Fume). Love moscato? Look for some inexpensive riesling or Muller-Thurgau.

Branch out when you dine out: At a restaurant, especially when you’re traveling, try something new and unfamiliar.

Most wine lists these days are nicely crafted (in fact, it can be a bad sign if you see too many familiar brands). And the expansion of by-the-glass offerings in many eateries provides a chance to sample a couple of “exotic” offerings — and pairings.

Branch out at home: Try the occasional unconventional pairing at the dinner table: an oaky chardonnay with grilled steak, a young zinfandel with tuna. Or just a wine you like with a dish you like but never thought to combine. And cook more with wine, but only good stuff so that it actually enhances the flavor of the dish.

Get to know more local wine-mongers: There’s nothing that will help you drink better wine more than getting to know a merchant or three, and letting them get to know you (or at least your palate).

No holding back on your end, and you’ll know fairly quickly if you’ve found a simpatico soul.

Get to know more local wineries: Forget wines that you might have eschewed five or 10 years ago. Wineries are getting better every year, as the fledgling industry discovers where best to grow certain grapes and how best to turn them into our favorite fermented juice. And go to the source (often a necessity with so few brands in stores, but also a great excuse for a nice excursion).

Bubble up: Drink more sparkling wine, white or pink, from Champagne (if you can afford it) or anywhere, even New Mexico.

These are wines, folks, just like pinot noir and chardonnay (in fact, many if not most are made with those grapes). And they are pretty much guaranteed to play well with almost anything at the dinner (or brunch) table, from omelets to lamb to milk chocolate.

Pick a grape or region, any grape or region: Even the nuttiest of us grape nuts have states, countries or varietals that we just have not gotten around to exploring.

There’s infinite fun to be had delving semi-deeply into Alsace or albarino, Greece or grenache, South Africa or sangiovese. Any and all such options offer a variety of styles, so keep an open mind.

Augment your accessories: Try a Vintouri, which can really “open up” young red wines in particular.

Put a good decanter on your wish list. Invest in some stemless (and dishwasher-friendly) glasses, which provide everything the stemmed ones do. And get comfortable with one type of corkscrew; the “rabbit” openers are easy to use but break way too often (too many teeny parts).

Make wine more communal: Gather some friends to try a set of wines. It can be formal or informal, but do have at least one person take notes either way.

The theme can be serious (Sicilian reds, chenin blanc from anywhere) or more flippant (naughty labels, wines that might go with corn dogs). The aim is to drink wine the way it was intended, in a social setting.

The good news: Any of these steps can enrich your understanding and enjoyment of wine. The better news: This is not about leaving your comfort zone, but about broadening it.

Just Posted

Olds chicken barn burns to the ground, no livestock harmed

More than 100,000 chickens were saved as fire crews prevent the blaze from spreading

Bear video meant to promote conservation: zoo owner

Discovery Wildlife Park says it will look at other ways to promote its conservation message

Red Deer’s Soundhouse closing its doors on Record Store Day

The owners of The Soundhouse want to shut down their store on… Continue reading

Cryptocurrency here to stay says one Red Deerian

Bitcoin is more than just a commodity with an ever changing value,… Continue reading

Lacombe County residential development and golf course proposed

Lincoln Ranch would include 100 homes and nine-hole golf course

NorAm Western Canadian Cross Country Ski Championships begin in Red Deer

The biggest cross-country skiing competition in Red Deer’s history is underway. Nearly… Continue reading

In photos: Get ready for Western Canadian Championships

Haywood NorAm Western Canadian Championships and Peavey Mart Alberta Cup 5/6 start… Continue reading

WATCH: Red Deer city council debates cost-savings versus quality of life

Majority of councillors decide certain services are worth preserving

Got milk? Highway reopened near Millet

A southbound truck hauling milk and cartons collided with a bridge

Stettler’s newest residents overcame fear, bloodshed to come here

Daniel Kwizera, Diane Mukasine and kids now permanent residents

Giddy up: Red Deer to host Canadian Finals Rodeo in 2018

The CFR is expected to bring $20-30 million annually to Red Deer and region

Ice dancers Virtue and Moir to carry flag at Pyeongchang Olympics

Not since Kurt Browning at the 1994 Lillehammer Games has a figure… Continue reading

Beer Canada calls on feds to axe increasing beer tax as consumption trends down

OTTAWA — A trade association for Canada’s beer industry wants the federal… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month