The only rule of wine that counts — really, the only rule there should be — is to drink what you want, but to be willing to try different kinds of wine. How else will you find out what you like unless you taste something you’ve never tasted before?
Needless to say, given the foolishness that passes for so much wine advice, that’s easier said than done. Is it any wonder that so many wine drinkers give up, confused by toasty and oaky and cigar box aromas? Or that craft beer, because beer is so much easier to understand, could be bigger than the entire California wine business by the end of next year?
Which was the reason for “Get out of your wine rut!“, which I wrote for the Bottom Line Personal newsletter. Regular visitors here might recognize some of the wines I recommend, but the point of the article is about more than the wines. It’s about trying something different because there are thousands of wonderful cheap wines that you might like, if you’ll only give them the chance. Among the suggestions:
• Chenin blanc instead of chardonnay, if you’re looking for something lighter and more fruity. As noted here many times, dry chenin blanc deserves much more attention than it gets.
• Red Rhone blends instead of merlot. These French blends, like the legendary Little James Basket Press, can have more interesting fruit flavors but still offer the merlot softness that many of us like.
• Albarino, the Spanish white, instead of sauvignon blanc. Albarino should be the next big thing, instead of something as old and tired and as hard to find as gruner veltliner, because it offers quality at very affordable prices and is on more store shelves than you’d think.