Tired of wine? Pour yourself some new habits

Are you getting bored with wine? Does Tuesday’s merlot taste like Wednesday’s cabernet? Go drink a beer, then come back here. I’ve got some ideas about how to rejuvenate your palate.

Three Januaries ago, I suggested four ways to spice up your wine exploration: Visit a different wine store; keep a journal so you can remember the name of that wine you liked last month (smartphone photos work, too!); explore wines from an unfamiliar region to experience how pinot noir from the Sonoma Coast, for example, tastes different from pinot from Santa Barbara County’s Sta. Rita Hills; and drink local to experience the exciting explosion in quality in wines across the country, especially here in Virginia and Maryland.

Those are still valid suggestions. Here are some variations.

● Ask your retailer to surprise you. By retailer I don’t mean the stock clerk at Harris Teeter or the guy in the hairnet who offers you a chunk of sausage on a toothpick at Costco. I mean the men and women at your local independent wine store. Most of them are professionals who work in retail because they love wine and enjoy sharing the experience. They have probably tasted most, if not all, of the wines in the store, and many travel frequently to visit vintners and gain firsthand knowledge of the wines. You should be cultivating several retailers as you shop. Ask your favorite retailer to suggest something he or she has never offered you before. When you shop, look for grape varieties you’ve never tasted, such as grenache blanc or bobal. Ask about them, then give one a try. You might discover a new favorite.

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