Alternatives to Dry January

Dry January is making the rounds again. Perhaps you’re having a go this year, or maybe you’re sick to the back teeth of it. I think we all like to kick off a new year with good intentions, but this doesn’t have to mean dropping the things that bring us joy! Cut through the noise about cutting down, detoxing, and cleansing with some more measured (and fun!) approaches to the month. 

Quality not quantity

After the joyful indulgence of the festive season, it’s no surprise that, come January, many like to take the chance to ‘reset’ by re-considering their food and drink choices.

For others, though, it’s quite unthinkable to totally deprive ourselves of the enrichment we get from fine wine. Especially during a month that can feel somewhat morose, the pleasure of accentuating a lovingly thought-out meal with a fantastic wine can’t be understated. We’re not talking about pushing any limits! Here’s our philosophy going forward in 2022: fine wine is a drink to be savoured. A reasonable resolution might be to consume less in quantity, but better in quality. This mindful approach might give you a deeper appreciation for what’s in the bottle, and maybe you’ll find a new favourite in the process.

Try January

January resolutions are all about switching up your routine. Rather than getting rid of wine completely, why not just try something new? Move out of your comfort zone and set the tone for the rest of the year by leaning into your curiosity. Of course, this could simply mean trying a cuvée from a region that you know less about, or one made using a grape variety you’re unfamiliar with. We also have a selection dedicated to wines for the adventurous. These all have particularities to do with their grape variety (native, rare, or forgotten grapes) and vinification methods (matured in amphora, maceration wines…).

A Dry White January?

Attempting a new approach to the month of January can be refreshing, so why not take the chance to explore the world of dry, white wines? Whether still or sparkling, these wines often come from cooler climates, and this translates into low sugar and alcohol levels in the resulting cuvées. These should be kept in the fridge, and we recommend using a little vacuum pump so that you can keep the bottle fresh if you don’t finish it. Northern regions will be your best bet when seeking a wine like this, and Germany is a great source of very dry whites that range from 8-11% alcohol.

In this same spirit of choosing low-alcohol drinks, you might like to go for a cider or perry. We really like those made by Eric Bordelet. Whilst you might consider cider something to enjoy on a hot day, its aromas also pair nicely with sweet breads like brioche, as well as the classic French galette des rois, a traditional pastry which is made for Epiphany, then enjoyed throughout the month of January.

Regenuary

Now this is a totally new one for me, and really quite niche for anyone not well-versed in agricultural trends. Regenuary is about starting off the year right by supporting farmers and growers who use regenerative methods. This is one way of considering the environmental impact of the food and drink you consume without necessarily cutting anything out. But what does this have to do with wine? Well, regenerative methods are central to the process of biodynamic growing, a philosophy we’re seeing more of in vineyards across the world. Essentially, these growers apply practices that give back to the soil, strengthening it and improving its capacity to hold onto carbon. The wines produced are really good, too 😉 You’ll find over 1,000 biodynamic cuvées here.

What about Veganuary?

Sister-trend to the alcohol-free movement is the increasingly popular Veganuary! Of course, this is more to do with food choices, but anyone who’d like to follow this lifestyle to the letter should also look at the wine they’re drinking. Egg white is often used as a fining agent in wine, as it collects floating sediment together and sinks it to the bottom of the barrel. This means that, whilst there are no animal products in the wine itself, eggs can be used during the production process. Never fear, though, as many natural wines don’t involve this process (hence why they can look a little cloudy – a bit unusual but nothing to worry about!). There are also alternative fining methods that use plant products, and this is the case for the wines at Château Dauzac, for example.

As is often the case when making changes to your eating and drinking habits, this is simply a question of doing your research. There are plenty of wines that are vegan (without necessarily being labelled as such), and infinite ways to enjoy a nice bottle with a meat-free meal! An important point when pairing is that the wine shouldn’t overpower the dish, and vice versa, which still leaves plenty of room for inventive and delicious meals that will find their perfect, matching cuvée.

Finally, if you’re still set on your Dry January, or encouraging others who are, note that we’ll be ready and waiting to welcome you back into the fold of fine wine once the virtuous venture is complete 😉

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