As 2011 comes to a close, and 2012 arrives, I find wine writers are reflecting on this years’ wines, as they should be. Reflection shines a light on the path one must take moving forward. It helps us to see the past errors, and also the successes. I have been drinking wine over fifteen years now, I will tell you honestly it has been a somewhat myopic journey. I drink 99.9% European wines with a very heavy focus on France. I’m not ashamed. There’s nothing wrong with drinking only what interests you. There’s a myriad of different wine styles, and grape varieties that one could keep occupied for a lifetime just in Europe alone. I have constantly pushed myself into these tiny, far-flung corners of Europe trying to track down the unearthed hidden gems of the wine world. I’ve had a blast doing it to. I don’t know how many varieties I’ve tried, but I can imagine it is well over one hundred.
I was raised in a European household, lived a large chunk of time in Europe, and as a first generation American, I can honestly say I know relatively little about American wine. Even early on in my wine education, I was quick to move through American wines. I’ll be the first to admit that for years I have been overly dismissive of American wines, so I’m making my New Year’s Resolution this: In 2012 I will dedicate my blog to my exploration of American(U.S.) wine. My promise is to dedicate this blog to a year of domestic wine exploration. Call it an American wine odyssey through the eyes of a European palate. I’m going to continue to search out wines that express a “sense of place”. I will insist on wines with balance, and moderate to low alcohol levels. I will still look for wines with more acidity that what most prefer, and the wines that I come across that I believe to be inferior will still be called-out, like always. I’m conscience of the fact that I’m not going to find wines that are carbon copies of European wine. but what I’m hoping to discover for myself is that American wine can express itself just as purely and honestly as its European counterpart. I also promise to continue to search out the lesser known wines. This is going to be hard work, I’m going to need some help from my friends. You know who you are. I’m going to pick your brain, ask you stupid questions, and irritate the hell out of you. The funny thing is that I have so many friends in the California wine industry, and for years I have shunned or at the very least showed very little interest in what they’re trying to accomplish. I’m ready to learn.
I can imagine what the few who read my blog are thinking; this isn’t all that brave, interesting, or even thought-provoking. Many are going to call me naive or much worse for making this my pathetic resolution, and also for being so close minded for so long. Maybe they’re right, but for me this is as personal as it gets. I’m driven to break down the walls of my previous prejudices, and challenging myself to what would have been unthinkable years ago. In order to grow at times you need to shed your skin. I’m prepared to do so. Recently I challenged wine bloggers to dig deeper. To produce more engaging material, I’m not exempt from my own criticism. I will do what I can to live up to my own critique.
I will still be on the lookout for the alternative varieties A.K.A. B Team wines. I drink a lot of Champagne, and Rosé, so you can bet that finding suitable replacements will be on the top of my list too. My 2012 New Year’s Resolution is a promise to myself, and to you. To continue to evolve. Challenge accepted