Here we go again. A new year has sprung, and many of us have come up with resolutions to somehow become better humans. I don't know about you, but I tend to stop being my new improved self somewhere around February.
But what if we made resolution-making a little more fun? If you're a wine lover, the New Year might inspire you to learn more about a specific region or wine or sample new styles and producers. So for every pledge you make to yourself in 2018, try a new, kindred wine. Here are a few ideas.
Your resolution: Be healthy. Before you start contemplating silly ideas like cutting wine out of your diet, consider lower-alcohol wines. In fact, most of the calories in wine come from the alcohol. Plenty of varieties and styles clock in well below the 14 to 15 percent alcohol by volume that some rich reds attain. Try a Vinho Verde from Portugal or a kabinett Riesling from Germany, both fun discoveries. Vinho Verde, made from indigenous grapes like Alvarinho and Loureiro, is a light-bodied white with a hint of spritz. Kabinett is the least-ripe level of grapes in the prädikat quality classification; the wines are not always fermented all the way dry, resulting in a touch of sweetness balanced by vibrant acidity, with alcohol levels sometimes as low as 8 percent—perfect for a wide range of weeknight food pairings.
Your resolution: Save money. At the end of last year, we released our 100 Top Values, proving that you don't have to break the bank to drink good wine. You can bring this ethos with you into 2018 when you're shopping for everyday-drinking bottles. This is not news to anyone, but it bears repeating: Côtes du Rhône is still one of the best wine values out there. I always find this to be true when I'm scanning the shelves at a wine store, looking for something I actually want to drink but that won't cost me more than $15. Côtes du Rhône reds are often entry-level bottlings from reputable producers who also make wine from more premium Rhône Valley appellations. Bonus: Try the whites!
Your resolution: Get a new job. Repeat after me: Drink for the job you want, not the job you have. If you're looking for something with extra zeros, a little more complexity, better benefits, a bolder description, and that also says, "I'm ahead of the game," set your sights on Australian wine. While the country Down Under has plenty of well-established collectibles, notably Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon from appellations such as Barossa, the scene is also exploding with first-rate wine from emerging varieties and regions. Drinking Aussie these days is a sign of sophistication and forward thinking that'll get you in the mood to land that dream job.
Your resolution: Do more for your community. No matter where you are, drink local. You'll be supporting the small businesses and farms in your area while also discovering a product you might not have gravitated toward otherwise. This goes for wine, but also beer, cider, spirits and much more.
What are your resolutions and must-try wines for 2018?