Make it quality not quantity this January
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Dry January – if the thought of giving up wine completely for this month after an indulgent Christmas and New Year festive break isn’t filling you with enthusiasm why not work on a resolution to drink better wine? Quality not quantity could be your rule of thumb.
This can be a long-term resolution and one that also shouldn’t involve extra spending, especially if you’re not eating out. It’s easy to make it fun too - why not try a few new grape varieties, regions or styles of wine within your wine budget?
A good place to start is with the type of wine you normally buy. Note the grape variety and country of origin and look out for other wines with a view to seeking others of similar ilk.
For example, if you enjoy a £7 Chilean Sauvignon for its light, fresh, easy-drinking style then try a £10 bottle that will match your taste preference with additional character and flavour to savour.
If you’re feeling adventurous check out wines that have the same flavour profile such as New Zealand Verdelho which is aromatic and quite zippy when young, or the fairly trendy Picpoul de Pinet from the Languedoc region in France or Pecorino from Italy.
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Another option would be to try an unoaked Viognier which will have a ripe fruit, yet crisp flavour and a zesty, peachy flavour respectively providing an opportunity to extend your personal range of enjoyable wines.
These wines have the added benefit of being light and dry with lower alcohol and fewer calories.
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This exercise can be followed through with red wines too; the wines of Beaujolais, including Fleurie, Chirouble and Regnie are vibrant and refreshing with lovely fruity notes and lower alcohol. They’re often forgotten as untrendy wines but well worth a look.
Pinot Noirs from Chile or the South of France rather than Burgundy are fantastic value and full of flavour and worth experimenting with different recipes too.
To add an extra dimension of interest to your wine selection look for the same grape-making wine in a different country such as New Zealand and France.
If you’re a Sauvignon fan then why not try the gooseberry fruit from the Antipodes such as Makutu, Zephyr Sauvignons or the subtle leafy fruit from the Loire Valley such as a Pouilly Fume or a generic Touraine Sauvignon?
Follow this route with other countries growing Merlots for example and you’ll be greatly and pleasantly surprised by the number of wines available to match your expectations.
Finally, a more radical option would be to seek out wines from unusual grape varieties or examples of wines grown in countries where they are least expected.
Look out for Italian whites such as Grillo or the Spanish Godello or Mencia, Tempranillo, which is most widely grown in Spain but is also producing stylish quality wines in places like Australia and Argentina.
Have a very Happy New Year having fun discovering some new favourites that are great value, lower in alcohol and help you stick to your resolution to enjoy quality not quantity.