100% without irony, I have always loved “very special” holiday-themed television programming. (There’s a Christmas episode of Beverly Hills 90210 featuring the Pretenders song “2000 Miles” that makes me wistful just thinking about it.) So here’s my addition to the holiday canon with a brief list of what I’m thankful for, STBNY-style:
1. The dynamism of the world wine industry. A week doesn’t go by when I’m not reading about some new wine producing country or region coming into its own, from Brazil to India to Idaho. Do yourself a favor — sometime before the end of the year, treat yourself to a bottle from someplace new. A crisp Greek white with your Italian Seven Fishes Christmas Eve dinner, a South African Pinotage with your Hannukah beef brisket, Tasmanian Pinot Noir with pretty much anything–just try it. (And leave a comment to tell me all about it!)
2. Some good vintages. Bordeaux, Germany, and the Languedoc (in Southern France) are all reporting a strong harvest in 2009. I’m not someone who obsessively keeps track of vintages, but these are three areas where I’d like to make some more investment in my education and my drinking pleasure, so I’m happy to see that 2009 is looking good…so far. (The proof, of course, is in the drinking.)
3. And some good prices. According to a new California “state of the wine industry” report, winemakers will have to keep their prices below $50 to stay competitive. I know, that’s still a pretty penny to spend on a bottle of wine, but when you consider the vast number of undistinguished bottles for $100 and (way) up that have hit the market in the past decade, a $50 ceiling for California wines is definitely a return to sanity.
4. The ubiquity of screwcaps. They’ve been around for a while now, but it seems that they really reached critical mass in 2009. They eliminate the whole corking issue (topic for an upcoming post), which can be a major problem for my tasting classes. Screwcaps are also great for the harried host or hostess — in the middle of greeting guests, prepping food, and finding the right playlist, it’s a relief not to have to fiddle with a corkscrew.
5. The American wine consumer. When we’re at our best, we’re the most open-minded, adventurous wine buyers on the planet, with unparalleled access to wines from all over the world. Cheers to you.