This is the hardest wine column of the year to write – and, probably, the least read, which is a cruel combination. Here I am, struggling to rekindle my interest in all things wine, and you are probably off the booze altogether, at least in theory. This is a lean time in the wine writer’s year; the vinous “hungry gap”.
Not to be put off, I’ll seek to entertain you on the subject of wine, so grab a cup or glass of something and settle in. I’m not really a believer in New Year’s resolutions, which are destined to become a stick to beat yourself with, when the almost inevitable failure comes – usually before January is out.
However, here’s a little (wish)list of things I’d like to achieve this year – on the wine front that is. I won’t bore you with my list of house maintenance ambitions.
2016 (wine related) sort-of resolutions
1. Knuckle down to Champagne study. Less indulgent than it sounds, I promise.
2. Continue the noble, and almost certainly doomed, struggle to get UK drinkers to love Riesling.
3. Drink more Riesling. Yes, even I feel like I’m letting the side down and could do better.
4. Visit at least one new wine region. Yes, it’s a tough job, but….
5. Taste a new (to me) grape variety every month. You wouldn’t believe how many varieties there are – Jancis Robinson et al’s Wine Grapes encyclopaedia lists 1,368 of them.
And what of the elephant in the room? Yes, I must try to achieve all this while abiding by the new alcohol consumption guidelines of no more than 14 units of alcohol a week, spread over 3 or 4 days.
Which brings me to my wine prediction for the year – we are going to be seeing the development of many more, lighter alcohol and even alcohol-free wines to feed our need to glug a glass of wine without stacking up the units.
Wishing you a happy, and moderate, 2016.