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January 17, 2010

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Wine drinking resolutions for the New Year

IN the West we are fond of making, then often breaking, resolutions for the New Year. The goal of resolutions is to improve your life. With this in mind, I'd like to share my three wine resolutions for 2010 that hopefully will not only improve my wine life but also help readers.

I also encourage you to make your own wine resolutions for 2010. Just remember that resolutions are fun to make and even more fun to keep.

Drink more Kiwi wines

Something special is happening in New Zealand, in particular in the region of Marlborough that's located in the north of South Island.

It is unprecedented in the history of wine for a region to go from absolute obscurity to making world-class wines in three or four decades as Marlborough has done.

The brilliant sauvignon blanc whites that first put this region on the world's wine map and the ever improving pinot noirs are wines that should be on everyone's priority list for 2010.

Particularly recommended are two wines from Terrance Heights Estate, the 2008 sauvignon blanc that's chock full of tropical fruit and the classically fruity 2006 pinot noir that features intriguing hints of French oak.

Also not to be missed are two wines from John Forrest that mirror his outgoing and entertaining personality, his exuberantly fruity yet wonderfully balanced 2008 sauvignon blanc and excellent 2007 pinot noir featuring plenty of elegant dark fruit flavors.

The bold flavors of New Zealand wines pair very nicely with many flavorful Asian dishes.

Get to know South Africa

Since quite a young age, I have traveled around the world tasting wines. Today, a big part of my work is to visit Europe and other wine-growing regions to better understand their products and also promote understanding of the China market.

Behind this good fortune is the sad truth that I've never been to South Africa and know far too little about their wines.

Wine-loving friends from around the world have implored me to taste more of the distinctive and high-quality wines coming from South Africa.

I'm still preparing my tasting list for 2010, but definitely included are the Fleur due Cap pinotage and cabernet sauvignon reds as well as merlot and merlot blend Rubicon wines from Meerlust.

Make-up with Bordeaux

As mentioned last week, I'm often critical of the quality of inexpensive Bordeaux wines that are unloaded on Asian markets. However, Bordeaux was the first love of my wine life. Over the past two decades, exponential price increases and the growing number of excellent alternatives from other regions caused something of a break-up.

But I think 2010 is a fine time to try and make-up, particularly with some of my favorite Bordeaux sub-appellations like Saint Estephe and Saint Emilion.

Of course, the great chateaux of both regions are always worth tasting if you can afford them. But they also offer superb quality wines at much lower prices.

From Saint Estephe try the hearty wines of Chateau Meyney and Chateau Les Ormes de Pez that have plenty of spicy dark fruit flavors and abundant tannins which make them perfect for red meat dishes.

From Saint Emilion, don't miss one of Bordeaux's fastest rising stars, the elegant and complex Chateau Haut-Brisson.


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