Maybe the walls of your apartment are closing in or you’re beginning to wonder how many more Zoom meetings you can stomach. The last thing you need is a rulebook on how to escape. But some ideas are better than others, so consider these guidelines the next time you need a glass.
Gamay is everybody’s friend
Approachable, bright, and refreshing, this light-bodied varietal is the TV equivalent of an NBC sitcom. Bottlings from France’s Loire Valley tend to have a funkier edge, while those from cru Beaujolais are cleaner with their smooth tannins, floral aromatics, and tart strawberry-cherry-raspberry qualities. Good bottles are under $30. Go with pork if you’re hungry.
Look for the 2018 Jean-Louis Dutraive Domaine de la Grand'Cour, Brouilly.
You can drink German Riesling all day
Many Rieslings clock in at under 12% ABV, so you could sip this stuff for hours without going over the edge — or waking up the next morning feeling like you fell off one. Acidity, balanced by a touch of sweetness, is what gives this grape varietal its electric energy. It’s also what makes you salivate and will pair nicely with spicy dishes. Cloyingly sweet, unbalanced Riesling rarely graces store shelves these days, but if you can’t stand even a single gram of sugar, look for the bone-dry “GG” bottlings.
Try the 2018 A.J. Adam, Dhron Hofberg, Kabinett.
Go natural, whatever that means
“Natural wine” is a complicated term, and organic and biodynamic bottlings are not sure bets. Some taste like a horse stable. Others recall blue skies on a summer day and taste like strawberry juice. The latter is probably better suited for these times so do your research or try to talk to someone at the store if you’re unsure. One more thing: Natural wines are usually easy to drink liberally thanks to soaring levels of acidity, and many of them taste better the next day.
Try the 2018 Gut Oggau, Winifred Rosé.
Seize the day and drink Champagne
In 1946, Winston Churchill famously said, “In victory I deserve it. In defeat I need it.” Whatever category you fall into, don’t limit yourself to bubbles for special occasions. It’s good for the spirit. Isn’t that enough? But rather than opt for the big maisons like Veuve Clicquot that blend grapes every year to reach the same flavor profile, support the small farmers and choose grower champagne. These wines more often reflect the diverse terroir and personality of the region. Big Bonus: Champagne pairs with everything.
Try Domaine Bereche et Fils, Brut Reserve NV.
Ease up on the full-bodied wines
In his PBS TV series Avec Eric, Eric Ripert of the Three-MICHELIN-Starred Le Bernardin discusses pairings with wine director Aldo Sohm (who is also the owner of Aldo Sohm Wine Bar). The two politely clash over drinking red wine with lobster and oysters, and Ripert, ever a Bordeaux lover, simply declares, “I’m not wrong since I’m so happy.” You can’t argue with that, but consider going easy on any big reds like cabernet sauvignon from Napa, shiraz from Australia, or grenache from southern Rhone. These wines often feel like a meal on their own, can easily overpower any food that isn’t a steak, and might make you woozy after a glass or two. Remember: We aren’t in a race. We’re in a marathon.
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