Column: New wines for a New Year

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Commentary by Elizabeth Morse

Fraught with resolutions and anticipation, 2018 is upon us. Why not make one of your goals to expand your wine horizons? Many of us find something we like and stick with it. You fell in love with Riesling in college and haven’t strayed? Maybe you only drink Merlot. You never buy anything but California Chardonnay? Well, friend, you are passing up some tantalizing taste-bud experiences.

This new year, I challenge you to think about what you like about your “usual” and develop it. Personal growth applies to wine, too, and it’s much cheaper than therapy. Kidding. Not really.

Here’s how: Pinpoint what you like best. If you aren’t used to picking out flavors, get an idea by looking at the description on the back of the bottle. You may see words like “hints of…chocolate, red berry, nutmeg, leather, tropical fruit.” Figure out your sweet spot and then head to the wine store.

Tell the clerk what you usually drink and why.  For example: “I am just polishing off the last of my 2005 Gravity Hills Killer Climb Syrah. I really like the bacon fat and black pepper flavors in it. Can you suggest others that I might like?” The shop keep should say something like, “If you dig bacon, splurge on a Côte-Rôtie from France. At $56ish the Maison Brotte ‘Les Murets’ is totally worth it. If you’d rather go with mad pepper tonight, 1000 Stories Zinfandel at about $20 is an affordable option. You could also go with a young Rioja from Spain or even a sweet Port like Quinta do Noval, Noval Black. About $23.” You’ve just gotten four diverse options to choose from, each with a little something you already know that you’ll enjoy.

Bottle shops are an amazing resource. Use them. The server at your favorite wine bar can help, too. Consider signing up for a wine tasting with friends. You will learn so much about what you love and what you don’t. Live a little and explore the wide world of wine this year. Cheers!

P.S. Feel free to email me, too. I’ll happily offer suggestions. cornerwinebar1@aol.com

Elizabeth Morse, an owner of Corner Wine Bar in Broad Ripple, grew up in the Meridian-Kessler neighborhood and is a graduate of Broad Ripple High School and Indiana University, a Hoosier chef, restaurateur, food writer, wine guru and Hamilton County Master Gardener who believes in supporting all things local. She has been a resident of Hamilton County for over a decade. Have a wine or entertaining question? Shoot an email to cornerwinebar1@aol.com


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