Resolutionary Wine

Let’s think of this article as the sugar that makes the resolution medicine go down. Or rather—maybe this column is a resolve to find some moderation. I feel like hardcore resolutions—no sugar, meat, caffeine, carbs, unnecessary selfies, joy, etc.—go by the wayside quickly. So, pick your battles, and you can have your resolutions and a small glass of vino too. What are my resolutions? Drink in the shower more. Wait, no make the world a better place. Wait, that’s vague. Ummmm I resolve to work harder on getting a publishing deal for my goth cocktail book concept. Career plus…making the world better via macabre drinks. Sure that works. As one dies. I mean does. Hashtag goth probs. Anywho, here are some popular new year’s resolutions, and what wines go with them. Because healthy life changes go with a (so they say) heart healthy glass of wine. That is a thing of beauty. EXERCISE MORE I’ve got a couple ideas for this one. You could lift weighty wine bottles—get one of those expensive wines that come in bottles heavier than my heart after an episode of Squid Game. But I also decided to review Fitvine , since it has a person running on the label and claims to be “a better fit” for healthy lifestyles. It has low sugar levels but like…that’s not unusual for dry wine. Especially for the variety I tried, the 2019 Fitvine Wines Sauvignon Blanc . It tasted fine, like Sauvignon Blanc, even, with a smidge of complexity but also it felt a bit processed—which it is! The webpage actually brags of “proprietary processes” and heavy filtering.’s fine. I dunno, if drinking a wine with a runner on the label inspires you to hit the gym after you hit the bottle, you do you. Otherwise overspend on some baller Napa and do bicep curls with the bottle before cracking it open. Or just get your @#s to a gym. Come on now. QUIT SMOKING Say yes to vodka. Vaya con Dios. TRAVEL MORE This one is tricky; it’s hard to know, day to day, who can go where. Even I canceled my Christmas flight home this year for fear of the dreaded Omicron. Ergo I suggest you resolve to drink more from the places you want to visit. If that doesn’t feel resolution-y enough, pair the wine with listening to your dream destination’s music, or reading up on their history. As for MY dream destination, if they’d let me—and they probably wouldn’t because they’ve been on top of cutting COVID—I’d go to New Zealand. I’m itching to see it. In the meantime, I resolve to keep enjoying NZ wines, particularly the country’s Pinot Noir. My resolution wine is 2019 Pegasus Bay Pinot Noir . It’s juicy keen. Let it breathe a minute—screwcaps keep the magic in too well sometimes. Tis’ lacey across the palate. As in at first, after the nose is thwacked with all the aromas—they pack a cherry punch—it’s super smooth on the palate. The flavors and sensations spread themselves across your tongue like a lace tablecloth. Thirst quenching red fruit sprinkled with pepper spread themselves, but as I said, it is lace so the fabric is smooth, the flavor and sensations are not. LEARN A NEW LANGUAGE Drink more German wine. They have more terminology than types of cryptocurrency. So you’ll maybe learn something. You’ll at least learn that trocken means dry. Also, German words are just fun—their word for a house cat is “stubentiger”, literally “house tiger”. Love those little beasties. At any rate, this January, I’m practicing my German on 2018 Bünchen Mosel Riesling “Zeltinger Himmelrich” Spatlese Trocken . Bünchen is the producer. Mosel is the anbaugiebiet (the main wine region), Riesling is the grape, Zeltinger is the village in the Mosel, Himmelrich is the vineyard, spatlese is the grape’s sugar level, and trocken means dry. Oh, and how is it? Reeks pleasantly of honey and apples, honeysuckle and dried apricot. Smells luscious, but hey! As ripe as it tastes, I think it is indeed trocken. Which makes it liquid gold. Dense and gold in appearance and thick on the palate, goodness gracious. Rich appearing and tasting without being really rich but still you know it is, tis the athleisure of wine. But you don’t have to be a wohlhabender mensch to drink it. SPEND LESS MONEY My favorite bargain grocery store wine is anything by Fetzer. I like the family history; I like that they are one of the more friendly-to-the-environment producers. And I LOVE that their wine consistently tastes WAY better than the bottom shelf rates it retails for. Like, I would pay more for Fetzer. It can be better than some grocery store finds that cost two, even three times as much. I even liked the 2020 Fetzer Vineyards California Gewürztraminer and I’m a hard sell on Gewürzt. The nose is heavy on the lychees with a goodly lick of citrus—less floral and more fruit. Beyond the lychees lots of yellow grapefruit and maybe some yellow peach fun. There is a kiss of residual sugar—call it off-dry? A touch of rose petal too. A relatively simple but friendly wine. And at their prices, it’s beyond a good deal. SPEND MORE TIME WITH FAMILY If this is your resolution, you better figure out what wine to drink with the fam. Something that is crowd-pleaser for many palates. It’s hard to find a wine and say “everyone will like this”; after all, some people claim to only drink red, some only drink white, some only drink White Claw (disown them)—so what wine is one size fits all? The safest bet is sparkling, as I feel like people who “only like red” don’t take bubbles into account when they say that. Get a mag of bubbles. Or at least some fun Champers. I’m popping Pommery Brut Royal , to introduce them to Champers. It’s a nonvintage that won’t break the bank and will give them a solid into to the genre. It smells of peaches on toast and for a second I was like “Ricola?”, which I realized was a slight note of fennel, methinks. On the palate it is richer fruit, riper, and redder—the website wouldn’t give me the balance but pretty sure there’s a good amount of Pinot Noir and/or Pinot Meunier in the blend, adding those deeper berry notes. And the creamy bubbles really carry it. There’s still that herbal pop though. It really is a lovely balance. The bread-y notes take a back seat to the fruit and cream. All over, one sip invites another which is great, your fam can down the bottle and you can open another. Family time made fun n easy. Go and get ‘em, tigers…and if you aren’t feeling that bold, know that even if you are a housecat, you are still a stubentiger. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Want to read more from Ellen? Check out her recent articles: Lit Wine Perfect Pie Pairings Samhain Sips Goth Rosé From Lalaland to Languedoc You can also listen to Ellen's podcast , The Wine Situation here . Check out her recent transcripts of the Final Five questions: Wine Situation Final Five! With Anush O’Connor Wine Situation Final Five! With John Michael Morcilio


Brut Royal Champagne Blend

It’s good champers, what else to say? Well plenty—I like a rich bubbly. The bready notes take a back seat to fruit n cream, and there is an interesting bit of...well when I first smelled it I thought...”Ricola”? Something herbal and sure to soothe the throat. — a year ago

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Cheers beautiful one! 🥂
Ellen Clifford

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@Trixie awww shucks thanks m’lady! 🥂

Pegasus Bay

Waipara Valley Pinot Noir 2019

F-ing delightful, Pegasus, take me away. Well first let the Pegasus catch its breath (aka let the vino breath), then hop on. Smells a little earthy as a winged horse is want to be, but take sip and the steed takes flight. Fly through hella raspberry…orchards? Descend enough to grab those and some cherries fresh off the tree then accelerate through a tunnel of (politefully chill) oak barrels and chill. Oh! But this flight didn’t have turbulence rather (abandoning metaphor) it is supes silky but while it punches with fruit and pepper it then smooths itself across your tongue like a lace tablecloth. Aka achieves smoothness with texture and the flavors and sensations seem to pop all over my tongue prior to my hopping on my metaphorical pegasus who is (describing the finish) descending into a cherry orchard (not just cause I’m doing a stage reading of Chekhov’s “Cherry Orchard” soon) and lovingly (as lovingly as a creature with wings and hooves can) sending me to find my way back through the barrels to who knows? It’s like I’m Alice in Wrinkle in Time-land. Cool Pinot from NZ I’d like to take another flight on a different Pegasus Air line. Just to see. — a year ago

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Ellen Clifford

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Thanks @Trixie ! ☺️

Fetzer Vineyards

California Gewürztraminer 2020

Fetzer is as Fetzer does which is consistently WAY better than it should for the price. Fight me. — a year ago

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Ellen Clifford

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@Severn Goodwin 😻 that was my friend’s cat Fred! He is a sweetheart


Handsome Fred!🐈‍⬛ Cheers!


Zeltinger Himmelreich Riesling Spätlese Trocken 2018

Fun things: it looks, smells, and tastes richhhhhh but it has a dry-wine ease about it and isn’t expensive. This is the affordable athleisure of wine. Smooth, chic, and a rich shade of gold plus the aromas (honeysuckle, dried apricot, the blood of happiness) and then an ever so slight mineral-moss-mushroom zip glides within and you think this may overpower you with regal rule but it is (barely) dry and slurpable keeping it casual. So yeah affordable athleisure in a bottle. Rubs your shoulders like a shroom-trip love that means all it does in the moment and that’s all it needs to. It’s just wine. That’s all it needs to be because it rocks. — a year ago

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California Sauvignon Blanc 2019

You know that meme with the dog drinking coffee as hellfire burns round him and he insists to himself “this is fine”?
This really is fine. It tastes like wine. Like Sauvignon Blanc, even, with some slightly floral notes backing up lime and a freshly mowed lawn. It’s not the wine that invokes the image of flames.
It’s the bullshit marketing of calling this “Fitvine” that conjures flames in my psyche. Like…a Sauvignon Blanc with very little residual sugar isn’t that wild a proposition. So…I dunno it’s like sticking a label on an apple that says “vegan”. I am also curious about what the website calls the “proprietary process” that “takes out tannins, sugars, and histamines”…and they are proud of how heartily they filter.
Anyone remember Snackwells? The treats claiming to be a healthy alternative because they were fat free? When in reality the processing necessary and sugars added made them as bad if not worse for you than a single homemade chocolate chip cookie, especially as the “guilt free” aspect led many to eat the full box? Remember that?
I hereby call this brand the Snackwells of wine.
It’s fine. I guess.
— a year ago

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MaJ CappS

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I do love a reference to the dog meme. 8^)