Happy New Year everyone and welcome back to planet earth after the festivities.
The usual recommendations will be stirred from their hibernation shortly but, meanwhile, here are some suggestions to help make 2016 into Your Best Wine Year yet.
There are thousands of wine regions in the world and thousands of grape varieties so decide to try a few more (like the illustration); one or two will disappoint – but more, I suggest, will amaze.
Don’t just stick to the same old handful of wines; there is nothing wrong with knowing what you like but plenty wrong with just liking what you know!
Increasing your wine knowledge even a little will boost your enjoyment significantly.
No need to get anywhere close to being a Master of Wine – finding out a little background about what you like, and fashioning a rudimentary system, will improve your selections enormously.
Stand by for suggestions here during 2016 about how you can acquire that little extra knowledge.
Avoid the supermarket equivalent of the three card trick – i.e. price a £6 wine at £10 for the minimum legal requirement, then offer it as a £5 “half price deal” and watch it fly off the shelves.
Unless you have a recommendation from someone you trust (like me I hope) fight off your bargain centred conditioned reflexes.
Focus instead on selling price not the discount; a pound off a retailer’s premium wine (see the illustration) is often much better value than an, apparently, much bigger reduction.
While I am on price, resolve to pay an extra pound or even two a bottle, say, one week a month; quality levels between £5.50 and £7.50 often rise exponentially.
Sharper brains than mine will be arguing over the latest Government alcohol guidelines for months yet but two things seem pretty clear to me.
- No one can really deny that alcohol is part of a longish list of things that can do you serious harm if used injudiciously.
- Building on that, suggestions for 48 hour alcohol free periods each week (a refinement perhaps of the popular “5:2 diet”) seem a good idea.
Later in the year, I will be offering more detailed thoughts on how to stay in control.
That said, the term “soberside” was not coined by accident and wine is an agreeable and entertaining way to help oil the wheels of sociability.
Relish it with friends, marvel together at its relationship with food and remember that joie de vivre and joie du vin are not far apart in my type of dictionary.
Above all enjoy 2016 and, I trust, all the positive things it will bring you and yours.
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