The Noble Writ's New Year's Resolutions

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Unlike several of my fellow Gut Check contributors, I'm not much for reminiscing about, dissecting or ranking the past year. Instead, I enjoy the challenge of looking forward and setting goals. So here are my plans for both my personal wine consumption and The Noble Writ in 2010.

A Napa Valley vineyard: Could it yield surprises for the Noble Writ? - AARON LOGAN, WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
Personal

1. Revisit areas I've mentally written off: I certainly have my favorite regions around the world and, like most folks, I'm tempted to select from among these the vast majority of the time. However, some recent samples reminded me that there are producers even in places like Napa and Bordeaux that I should be checking out.

While my palate preferences remain firmly in the low(er)-alcohol, non-woody, limited-intervention camps, these characteristics are now common enough that at least a few producers in just about every region are likely pursuing them. So in 2010 I plan to revisit vast swathes of California, Bordeaux, the Southern Rhone, Australia and, if I have time and budget, maybe even Washington.

2. Try to find wine made from grape varieties I've never had before: I love to taste wine made from obscure, if not virtually extinct, grape varieties. Despite this passion, there are hundreds of varieties I've never poured into my glass, so this year will be one of exploration on this front, too. I'll be trolling wine stores and ethnic markets for more obscure offerings from Italy, Greece, Central and Eastern Europe and who knows where else.

3. Drink more Missouri wine: I may well have made it through 2009 without a single glass of Missouri wine passing my lips. I'm not proud of this as Missouri makes some very good wine, and I'm very much in favor of supporting local agriculture.

It's been at least five years since I made a comprehensive tour of any Missouri wine region, so this year I'll try to taste through the wineries in Augusta, Hermann and, if time permits, Ste. Genevieve and St. James.

The Noble Writ hopes to drink and visit Missouri wines. - USER "AGNE27," WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
The Noble Writ

1. Partner with a Missouri winery: This past year, I tried to pair myself up with a winery during harvest but wasn't able to get it done -- not surprising, in retrospect, given the small size of most Missouri wineries and the incredible workload at that time of year. I'll start earlier, hoping to find someone willing to let me stop by several times throughout the year. I'm interested in what growing grapes and making wine in Missouri really entails. I want to learn what is necessary to operate a healthy, successful vineyard under Missouri's difficult (for grapes) climatic conditions, and what needs to be done to turn them into wine.

2. Dig for other good wine stores and wine bars: A quick browse through my posts will show that I certainly have my favorites, and during this first year of The Noble Writ I relied heavily on their excellent selections and knowledge. This year I'd like to go farther afield and see who else is doing good work. I hope I'll be able to highlight some other excellent sources for fine wine in St. Louis and share them in this space.

3. Finish some unfinished business: I have two posts that have remained partially-written for far too long, and for no good reason that is attributable to anyone other than me. One is an interview with one of my winemaker heroes, Steve Edmunds of Edmunds-St. John. The other is a profile of one of the world's great wine regions, Rioja, for which I was previously unable to find a suitable wine to highlight. Well, both of these are more than good enough to see the light of the day, so I plan to get them finished and up in the very near future.

I thank each of you for your support of this column, and look forward to continuing our conversation about wine throughout 2010.

Dave Nelson is the author of the blog Beer, Wine and Whisky. He writes about wine every Tuesday.

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