I've never been big on New Year's resolutions. Inevitably, either through fate or laziness, I usually give up on them by the end of February. In 2019, I pledged that 2020 would be the year I saw more movies at the theater, and we all know how that turned out. If you're a little stronger willed than I am (which, again, isn't saying much), but you don't want to commit to doing anything difficult, here are a few resolutions that will, at the very least, get you drunk enough to handle whatever 2021 has in store.
◼️ Buy One Bottle of Dessert Wine Each Month
It's no secret that dessert wines, no matter their origin, have fallen out of favor with the general public in recent years, but that lack of demand means that there are some incredible values to be had on local wine shop shelves. Maybe you've had Port in the past, so try its Portuguese sibling Madeira. The Henriques & Henriques 5 Year Old Generoso Doce ($24) is salty and nutty and tastes a bit like piloting a Snickers bar through hyperspace. Or try the Late Harvest bottling from Royal Tokaji ($21), a delicately sweet wine that tastes like a haute couture version of your favorite moscato. With a literal world full of options, you can't go wrong.
◼️ Drink Sparkling Wine More Often
There's nothing wrong with popping the cork on a bottle of Champagne or Prosecco when it's time for celebration, but sparkling wine is just as good (and maybe even at its best) at the dinner table. It's doesn't have to be fancy — bottles like Casas del Mar Brut Blanc de Blancs Cava from Spain ($16) or Italy's Scarpetta Timido Vino Spumante Brut Rosé ($16) get opened at my house weekly and make for fantastic pairings with everything from Chinese and Mexican takeout to steaks fresh from the grill.
◼️ Ask for Advice
I get that having in-depth conversations with strangers isn't high on anyone's to-do list right now, but all across the state there are restaurant and wine shop employees who delight in helping you select a fantastic bottle of wine. Use them like the resource they are. They work with these wines every day and know more about them than any app on your phone ever will. Taking time to build a rapport with the person who sells you wine is absolutely the best way to find your next favorite bottle.
Talking to people in stores not your thing? That's what I'm here for: send your questions via Instagram at @sethebarlow or via email at email@example.com.