Wine articles

New Year’s resolutions

I’ve never gone in for New Year’s Resolutions unless you count things like ‘try to sneeze less’ or ‘must stop adopting contrary opinions at dinner parties.’ This year, however, I’ve come up with three to guide my boozing in 2012.

1) Stop buying wine purely because it’s old. I still can’t seem to shake the idea that an old wine is a good wine. (This is a family trait: both my father and his father used to keep wine for too long.) Majestic had a Chinon 2000 on offer recently for £10. My head told me that it would be past it, very few wines will continue to improve up to twelve years especially at £10 a bottle, but my heart said buy. I should have followed my head – the wine smelt interesting but had lost its structure and spark. If it looks too good to be true, that’s probably because it is.

2) Drink more red Burgundy. After years of hunting its elusive pleasures whilst longing for the certainties of Bordeaux, in 2011 I hit a winning streak with Burgundy: I had two I loved. Not a bad success rate and neither were expensive (or perhaps I should say not expensive for good Burgundy): a plain Bourgogne Rouge 09 from Joseph Voillot for Thanksgiving and a joyous Savigny-Gravains 2006 from Camus-Bruchon & Fils* at Christmas. I want more like these.

3) Lose all wine prejudices. This year I’m to approach all wines with an open mind including ones that I normally avoid. This means you Pinotage, Australian Shiraz and any still wine from England. I will be become an equal opportunities taster, celebrating the diversity of the wine world rather than taking refuge, little Englander-like, in the comforting flavours of the old world.

That’s enough resolutions for now. I would be interested to hear what readers want to drink more or less of in 2012. Hopefully my new-found open-mindedness should make World of Booze an even more interesting place to visit. Don’t worry though, my progressive views will only extend to wine, this site isn’t about to turn into the New Statesman.

*Thanks to my father for this. He bought it from the Wine Society when it was released. It cost about £16 a bottle; will probably be a bit more now if you can find it.

By Henry

I worked in the wine trade and publishing before becoming a freelance writer and broadcaster. My work has appeared in the Spectator, the Guardian, the Oldie and Food & Wine magazine. I now works as features editor on the Master of Malt blog. Ihave been on BBC Radio 4, Radio 5 and Monocle Radio, and a judge for the BBC Radio 4’s Food & Farming Awards and for the Fortnum & Mason food and drink awards 2018. My book Empire of Booze: British History through the Bottom of a Glass won Fortnum & Mason debut drink book 2017. My second, The Home Bar, was published in October 2018.

10 replies on “New Year’s resolutions”

I plan to drink less wine on the whole, but better quality. I’m going to ditch my Laithwaite’s membership and go to Majestic and buy things I chose rather than get chosen for me.

There is plenty to fear in Australian Shiraz but good places to start & not just for Shiraz, are D’Arrenberg, Chapel Hill and Coreole in the McClaren Vale (these vineyards are an almost walkable distance apart), Rothvale, Piggs Peake and Gartelmans in the Hunter valley (I seem to remember Gartelmans do a very good fizzy Shiraz if you want to try something really different. People who love their Shiraz here swear by the Coonawarra region, sadly I haven’t yet made it there.

Thanks for the tips Tom. I’ll have to search them out. I’ve never been entirely sold on D’Arenberg wines especially their famous ‘dead arm’ shiraz which I find undrinkable.

I think that ‘drink less, drink better’ is probably the best sort of resolution to have, but it usually falls apart by the end of January, and I’m not holding an awful lot of hope out for 2012… I will endeavour to investigate some different wines, however, and furthering my acquaintance with red Burgundy sounds as good a place to start as any.

[…] I used to love my wine prejudices: Australian wine is jammy, English a joke and Pinotage unspeakable. When I became wine writer for the Lady I decided to confront them head on. I would go out of my way to drink wines that I would normal avoid. I take my duties extremely seriously and don’t want readers missing out on the fabulous world of wine because of my bigotry. I wrote last year: […]

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