5 New Year’s Drinking Resolutions (and where to satisfy them)
By Shana Sokol
Everyone approaches the new year with lofty goals of self-improvement through the masochistic ritual of making resolutions. Let’s be honest, after January 8, these goals go the way of the dinosaur: extinct. Are you really going to make your own cold-pressed juices after your second workout of the day? Didn’t think so. Don’t feel bad; these are not the resolutions you should be making. Instead, resolve to broaden your palate and learn something new about what you drink. Here are the 5 drinking resolutions you should vow to keep in the new year.
1.Drink more champagne. Champagne is an amazing wine that is all too often reserved for special occasions. This needs to be rectified, stat, as it is an incredibly versatile quaffer that pairs well with almost anything. In addition, changes have been taking place in the fabled French region, as well as in the NYC restaurant scene, making it a wine to watch. For many years, the region has been dominated by big-name producers and their house styles; however, there is a movement by smaller growers to produce their own artisanal bubbly instead of selling their grapes to the big houses, changing the landscape of quality champagne offerings. Recently, restaurants are also making champagne a priority on the wine list. From the fried chicken and champagne pairings at Birds and Bubbles to the extensive champagne list at the pizza-centric Marta, New York restaurants are trying to bring it into the everyday dining experience. This is a dynamic and evolving region and one which you should keep your eye on.
Where to drink: Marta, Birds and Bubbles, Corkbuzz Wine Studio
2. Drink more sake. Another misunderstood beverage, sake extends way beyond “hot” and “cold.” It is actually very similar to champagne in that there is a particular house style created by each producer and the goal is to create consistency in the bottle. However, like Champagne, there is a movement in the industry to understand the terroir and create vintages from a specific land plot, much like the small grower-producers in France. In New York, there are exciting places to try this rice-based beverage, such as Azasu, which is the only place in the city to sell cup sake, or Decibel, a speakeasy sake bar. All of these place also introduce other aspects of Japanese cuisine to the city. From riffs on bar food to refined small plates, these restaurants are showcasing more than maki and miso soup.
Where to drink: Azasu, Yopparai, Decibel, SakaMai.
3. Drink local. New York State wines are no longer an afterthought in the domestic wine industry and this burgeoning scene, with pockets all over the state, has been demanding attention. For example, the Tierce Riesling, a collaboration among Finger Lakes wineries Red Newt, Fox Run and Anthony Road, was served at the last presidential inauguration. Talk about the ultimate endorsement. You can find these wines on menus all over the city, but how about visiting the wineries themselves? Spend an afternoon in Brooklyn at Red Hook Winery and Brooklyn Winery, which offer tours and tastings at their facilities. Meanwhile, Brooklyn Oenology’s tasting room, right off the L train, plays host to various events and tastings. For an easy overnight trip, the wineries on Long Islandand in the Hudson Valley are a quick jaunt from the city. Sparkling Pointe on Long Island’s North Fork solely produces sparkling wine and Brotherhood, in the Hudson Valley, is registered as America’s oldest winery. Or, make it a long weekend up in the Finger Lakes, the birthplace of the New York wine scene. There, you can learn about the inception of the New York State wine industry and sample its diverse varietals. From pioneering winery Dr. Konstantin Frank, located on Keuka Lake, to the concentration of quality wineries, such as Hermann J. Wiemer on Seneca Lake, there is much to explore, discover and taste.
Where to visit: Brooklyn: Red Hook Winery, Brooklyn Winery, Brooklyn Oenology
4. Drink Coravin wine. Coravin is a system that was recently introduced into the wine industry that preserves an open bottle of wine for several months as opposed to a couple of days, which is the normal lifespan of wine once it’s been opened. This invention has allowed restaurants to start pouring some of their cellared jewels by the glass, making premium wines available to all, not just diners who can afford the extreme price tag for a whole bottle. Yes, these BTG (By The Glass, to break it down) options can still be a bit pricey but there’s no better way to expand your wine palate than by drinking some of the greats.
Where to drink: Costata, In Vino, The NoMad
5. Visit awesome wine bars. If you haven’t visited these top seven wine bars in New York City yet (and what are you waiting for?) add them to your itinerary for the new year.
Shana Sokol is a wine blogger, freelance writer and event planner living in New York City. She holds an Advanced Certificate from Wine and Spirit Education Trust and is a graduate of two programs from American Sommelier. Learn more at www.shanaspeakswine.com. Follow her musings on Twitter and Instagram (@ShanaSpeaksWine) or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ShanaSpeaksWine.