Red, Red Wine

Photo: Adam Brokes/stockxchng

Are you sticking to your New Year’s resolutions? Be honest. Are you eating more veggies? Flossing twice a day? Sending your girlfriend sexy messages every day? Have you given up those darn cigarettes yet?

If your resolution has been to stop drinking, I’m gonna dare you to reconsider. After all, it’s important to enjoy the finer things in life and there’s nothing wrong with having a great glass of wine once in a while. What do you think I’m doing right now as I’m writing this?

I like big, heavy reds, but which wine makes its way into your heart (and your glass) is entirely a question of personal taste. Ask your taste buds—no rocket science involved here. And of course it also depends if you are pairing it with a shellfish risotto, juicy barbecued ribs or drinking it by itself. 

Some people like to drink red wine all year long and are only willing to switch to something like a to a more refreshing rose during hot summer months. Or what about those who are die hard chardonnay or pinot noir fans? You get my drift...

In the past people tended to collect wines and open those precious bottles on special occasions only. Well, wake up and smell the delicious bouquet of whatever you just uncorked: About 90 percent of all wines purchased in stores are consumed within 48 hours, according to industry research. 

Wine says a lot about who you are and there is a time and place for every wine. Next time you are trying to impress the woman of your dreams, you might want to splurge on a higher end wine. On the other hand, if you are operating on a budget or attending a casual gathering, there’s nothing wrong with bringing a couple of bottles of “Two Buck Chuck”. 

To save you a bunch of research and make sure you aren’t just blindly wandering into a store I’ve talked to Barbara Haimes, lesbian and food wine consultant extraordinaire.

Haimes, the wine consultant at Cafe Rouge in Berkeley, Calif. also teaches management classes at the culinary department of City College of San Francisco and has worked front and back of the house at renown San Francisco Bay Area restaurants like Alice Waters’ Chez Panisse and Zuni Cafe. 

I am not sure about the wine-equivalent for chefbian, but somebody should invent one just for her. The students of her popular “Introduction to Wine” class, where she teaches them the tools of the trade, will attest to that.

While grapes have a season, wine itself does not, the 20-year industry expert says. Vintages depend on the country where the grapes are grown and on worldwide climate. (I’m wondering if good old global warming will produce some interesting changes?) 

“If I were to make a wine resolution for 2011,” Haimes says, “it would be to try new kinds of grapes, not just stick with the usual suspects.” 

Try to find an interesting new grape or a wine producing country you are unfamiliar with. Scope out that wine store you’ve been driving by for so long and find somebody there you can talk to. Based on specific questions she’ll ask you, any good wine store person will be able to figure out what kind of wine you’ll like. Are you a big fan of heavy wines that are aged in oak barrels or would you rather drink something lighter with a fruity note? How much are you willing to spend? Is this an everyday drinking wine or something for a special occasion?  

When you finally open that bottle, it could be a good idea to take some notes. No need to write a novel, but next time you are in the market for an awesome bottle of vino, you can tell them what you thought of their recommendation. Establishing a relationship with that favorite wine store also a fun way to learn the lingo of wine enthusiasts If keeping an old fashioned paper journal to track your purchases seems too much trouble, try one of the free or cheap smart phone apps like Wine Ph.D., Wine Notes or Wine Notes, just to name a few. 

Go wild and experiment. Just make sure you don’t have to pay for it the next day!