Try Something Different for 2011

It is that life improvement time of year again with everyone making plans and changes (mainly plans) to lose those pounds, that nicotine or, please no, that alcohol. The pounds and the nicotine I could let pass but why, if you are a moderate drinker not simply try something new, and possibly a bit less of it.

For example all the magazines just now seem to be recommending big hearty reds for big hearty stews in winter.  Instead you could try just a red sparkling wine or sherry. If you have cut down your wine intake to, say, one unit (nicer to say aperitif) per day and are looking for something to experiment with, then a bone dry Fino sherry, aged under a yeast cap to prevent contact with the air would give you a pleasant new taste.

One down in dryness would be Manzanilla which is light and refreshing and delicious with salty pistachios or almonds.  Another variety is  Amontillado,  aged under a yeast cap but then exposed to oxygen, thus producing a sherry which is darker in colour than a Fino and typically sweeter.  If your palate prefers a sweetness then Oloroso, the most alcoholic of sherries at 18 – 20% alcohol by volume will fit the bill.

 To try something different again, give red  sparkling wine a try.  There is a great Australian Shiraz called Banrock Station Sparkling Shiraz and people are enjoying the difference serve chilled as an aperitif.  Beware though, these bubbles go direct to the area of the brain I call ‘one is enough’.  They are a deep crimson colour and the bubbles froth like any sparkling wine – except they are pink!

We all like to try something, even if if is just once and never again! Brandy is usually considered an after dinner drink, and quite right, a digestif, but there is no reason why you can’t follow our experimental ideas and have a fruit brandy with ice as your one-a-day.  The warning light is that they are 40% at least ! Try Calvados from France, an apple based drink.  

In Scotland we produce our very own fruit wine from Cairn O Mohr which is widely available and again, something different.  This is a Perth based company which is like its product, young and fruity.  These fruit based wines are made from strawberries, raspberries, brambles, elderberries, elderflowers, even oak leaves and the bottles have a real point of difference in their design.  The taste is refreshing for your  one-ish a day the volume is not too mean either!

I hope you will get into 2011 as you mean to go on, have some fun and try something new.

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