By Jimmy Quaile, Certified Sommelier
1. Drink more Champagne!
Ok, this has been my New Years Resolution before, but that makes it consistent with everyone else's resolutions; we never keep them! But this year is different-I’m sure this time!
2. Explore new wine regions.
Time to venture past the normal grapes. No need to stray too far from your palate. If you like Sauvignon Blanc, try Assyrtico from Greece. If you like Beaujolais, try a Dolcetto from Italy. You can even stay with the same grape but grown in a different country. Mourvedre from France is Monastrell in Spain and takes on a whole different set of flavors...familiar, but different.
3. Stop waiting for the perfect occasion to open the good stuff.
I often get asked when this bottle or that is "ready", when in fact, the bottle is always ready. Most wine is ready upon release! Even that rare Bordeaux or cult Cab you've been holding onto was probably ready years ago. Plus, there is no guarantee that you will be alive tomorrow let alone the wine. So if you are waiting for the perfect time, it's now.
4. Pay attention to wine and food pairings.
There is a school of thought that says you should simply drink the wine you like with the food you like. Fair enough. But wine can elevate the flavor of both the wine and the food. Think of your favorite sauce. Sure you could put it on all of your favorite dishes, but you probably know where it works best. Think of wine as just that, the right sauce for that dish.
5. Host a wine tasting party.
You can do it. It's not that complicated. Pick the wine, set out a bunch of glasses and invite some friends over. You can even print out a score card for everyone to use. Keep track of the favorites using one to five stars, the standard 100 point scale or literally any way you'd like. It just makes each person focus on the wine a little more. You could even hire a Sommelier for the evening! (Shameless plug)