I know what you’re thinking.
“Aren’t New Years resolutions about making more healthy choices?”
Well, yes, they are.
So here are 5 New Year’s resolutions you can follow to improve your mental health, the health of the economy, and improve your mood. Heck, they might even make you happier. Yes, they all have to do with drinking.
Besides, you know you’re gonna drink wine in 2017, right? Might as well make it worthwhile.
1. Drink more bubbly.
With 2016 a dumpster fire of a year, I think we can all agree that celebrating life in the moment is the way to go.
All it takes is a chilled bottle of Prosecco or Franciacorta, and with a *POP* you have an instant party with laughter and smiles. Okay, Champagne will do, too.
I resolve to keep good Franciacorta in the cooler at all times, just in case a day-gone-bad calls for a pop-up celebration with friends.
2. Drink the good stuff.
Life’s too short to put up with meh wine. Let’s break out the good stuff.
Start cruising your prized bottles of Barolo or Amarone or Brunello that you’re keeping for “a special event,” and pick a few that you just know will be awesome. If your mind tells you “OMG, I can’t drink that! It’s so expensive!” — grab it, invite some friends over, and pop that cork.
Take your celebrations in advance. There’s plenty of good wine out there. Be generous and start drinking the wines you truly love.
I resolove to drink 1 fabulous bottle of old vintage Barolo, Brunello and Amarone each month over a fine meal with friends.*
*I’m sure friends are standing by, ready to help me with this resolution.
3. Try an offbeat grape.
Sangiovese. Nebbiolo. Aglianico. All good stuff, but there are more grape varieties to taste in this big ol’ world.
And in Italy, they have an embarrasment of riches in the way of native grape varieties. Heck, Ian d’Agata wrote a geeky book on native Italian grapes and had to stop at 500. Rumor has it there’s over 2,000, but nobody really knows for sure.
It’s time to get off the beaten Brunello track and start trying some new stuff. Be daring and give your taste buds a tour of something new and completely unexpected. They’ll be happy you did.
Here are 3 ideas: Lacrima is a super funky red, and it’s time to hunt down a good quality Lacrima di Morro d’Alba. Then there’s fussy Picolit that’s used to make a stunning sweet wine, but production of pure Picolit wine is microscopic. Oh, and then there’s the ancient red grape Teroldego from the Dolomites that makes a bright, savory red that excites the senses.
I resolve to find at least 1 offbeat native grape varietal to taste with friends, and share our tasting notes.
4. Drink small and skip the mega-wines.
How does a winery pump out 500,000+ bottles of wine, year after year, with almost no difference in taste & quality?
They manufacture it on a massive scale, that’s how. They tweak it by adding acid and sugar and water and alcohol to get it just so. There’s no “family farm,” it’s Corporate all the way, baby.
I’m a big fan of small family-scale wineries and “garage-wine” winemakers, like Valeria and Luca at Le Cinciole, Roberto at Val delle Corti, Ezio Cerrutti up in Asti, and even famous producers like Maria Teresa at Bartolo Mascarello. Italy has tens of thousands of them. They’re passionate winemakers, it’s in their DNA and they pour their souls and every moment of their lives into their winemaking. If you do the math, you realize they’re not doing it to get rich. It’s all about making beautiful wine to share with you, the Italian winelover.
Just say no to mega-wine producers in 2017 — that means saying NO to some labels you know well. It’s not wine, it’s a manufactured product. Your taste buds deserve better, and the small winemakers will value your money more.
I resolve to find and drink only small production wines with a back story of passion, humility and respect for winemaking as a craft.
5. Drink more hooch.
Grappa. Amaro. Vermouth. There’s more to Italian booze than just wine.
Italy is awash in unique and uber-local aperitivi and digestivi, and they’re now distilling some outstanding gin, vodka and whiskey. Italian wine importers are bringing over more of this good hooch to share with thirsty folks like you and me. Some of these concoctions are heavenly, others are an acquired taste.
Sommeliers and bartenders have gone wild with these newly imported alcoholic elixirs. You’ll find new cocktails on the menu with amaro and vermouth in a supporting role. Try them, or go Italian and try the booze neat.
I resolve to try any funky Italian hooch my bartender suggests, in a cocktail, straight up or neat (my choice).
Cheers to you.
And there you have it, 5 resolutions sure to improve your mood, mental health and the economy in 2017. These resolutions are almost impossible to fail at.
Celebrate the small joys of life with a regular bottle of bubbly. Take your celebrations early and pop some corks of your best wines with friends. Taste a new wine from some oddball grape you’ve never heard of. Skip those manufactured mega-wines and support the little guys making delicious wines with a passion. Oh, and don’t forget to toss back some Italian hooch once in a while.
Of course, you should drink responsibly while you're drinking better.
Best wishes for a joy-filled and tasty New Year. Cheers.