Trying is the first step toward failure, said a very wise cartoon character named Homer. And setting New Year's resolutions are a surefire way to get there even quicker. The problem with setting goals is that we usually set the bar too high. As the overachievers we are, it's just our nature. My advice? Aspire to underachieve. If you must go through this trivial ritual, don't kill yourself trying. To you, I offer support:
"May you succeed at the goals you set this year, but if you don't, may you succeed in finding new and fantastic Northwest wines to aid the drowning of your sorrows. Cheers!"
Resolution No. 1: Laugh
... at other people's expense. It really is the lube that keeps the world spinning on the axis of harmony. Unless you're incredibly witty, implausibly clever and bordering brilliant -- I won't find what you're saying funny. I have no option to laugh with you. Instead, I will gladly laugh at you. Then, as a whole, we are in balance once again. If you throw in a glass of something wonderful, I'll laugh so hard my sombrero falls off and I drop my taco (in case you want to text that: LSHMSFOAIDMT). And with that dropped taco, goes a glass of Davenport Cellars 2008 Continuity, a rugged blend of red sarcasm. This wine has a wicked sense of humor that stings with a bite of blackberry and cherry. Like the snapping of a towel on a bare butt, its sharp wit leaves a mark; all fun and games until someone draws blood. And if anyone leaves in tears, well, that's just a few more points for you. Sting!
Resolution No. 2: Don't be cheap
Tear the frigging wrapping paper. I don't know why men do this, but women innately do it because there's something primal telling them to re-use the paper. Face it! You're not going to re-use it to wrap another gift! And frankly, if you do, see Resolution No. 1. You deserve it. Rip the paper with your teeth! And then, let's talk about the primal inspiration behind the Mark Ryan 2010 The Vincent Board Track Racer. This wine is black everything -- black berry, black fruit and black spice. It revs the engine with a puff of smoke that belongs anywhere but at a family gift-exchange. It's pithy and bright with a full-frontal, fruit nose and a finish that keeps on giving. Let's hope the gift you receive has similar attributes.
Resolution No. 3: Start dating
... and stop being a stalker! This is a waste of time and no fun for anyone. Do you think it's endearing that I can't leave my house because you're parked outside? Do you think I don't notice I'm being followed by someone two yards behind me? Do you really think this is going to end well? Fjellene 2010 The Stranger, in a word, is ominous. It's bold with a foreshadowing sensibility, wrapped in a ribbon of cautious interest. Spice and cranberry make for a bright, hearty finish with a bit too much enthusiasm. Undoubtedly, the perfect wine for a blind date.
Resolution No. 4: Learn CPR
... and save a dog's life because if dogs are truly man's best friend, there's no other way to prove it. Not enough people know this valuable skill, and it may be the one time you get to be a hero. Don't screw it up! Now the question is, besides a raw dose of rubbing alcohol, what do you drink after you've done such a good deed? How about a bottle of Balboa Winery 2008 Constrictor? This wine emanates red cherry, red currant and pepper. Its strong, slithery tannins create a mouthful of pucker-up, perfect for canine lip-lock. After all the activity, a rich coffee finish leaves you craving a cigarette.
Resolution No. 5: Go to the movies
... and bring a police-style Maglight. When people talk at the movie theater, giving a dirty look is pointless. They can't see you, and if they can, they pretend they can't. Gotta go old school. Right when Chatty Cathy (and I use this as a unisex term) is in the middle of her rudeness, like the interrogator you always wanted to be, throw down and shine that flashlight as bright as you can right between her eyes. Deer in the headlights? Absolutely! It's a startling but relatively peaceful way to make the point. And, since people are unpredictable, the flashlight functions as a weapon of mass protection. Speaking of protection, plumb it up with a bottle of Plumb Cellars Damn Straight 2007 red. This Bordeaux-style blend packs a punch of pepper and spice and maple bar creaminess. Rack 'em up and hit me again, as it appears I'm starting to like it. This wine has that strappy leather thing that causes the involuntary movement of licking your lips, not once, but TWICE.
Resolution No. 6: Offer praise
... for a job done well. "See what happens when you apply yourself?" is one of my favorite phrases that evokes unmentionable reactions. Say it, and say it often. Try it with different tones and looks on your face. Whether it's a co-worker, a wife or a husband, a daughter or son -- even the smallest of good deeds should not go unnoticed. Trust me, they'll appreciate it. And if they don't, screw them. Speaking of the men in your life, Ott & Murphy 2008 Radieux is a masculine cadre of blackberry, dark plum and smoky spice. It's burly and curvy with ample structure that's strong enough for a man, but made for a woman, a Breaking Bad drama done well in spite of itself.
So I've said it before, which never prevents me from saying it again: New Year's Eve is simply a disappointment waiting to unravel. Why should resolutions be any different?
With sass and attitude, Teri Citterman is a Seattle dweller and an eager wine enthusiast. She is the author of the latest edition of Best Places to Kiss in the Northwest and the Northwest Wine Journal. She writes An Urban Sip Wine Blog at anurbansip.com.
This story was originally published December 20, 2012 4:01 PM.