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2012 is here, presenting a fresh new year of wine trends to contemplate. It’s an exciting time for all of us wine lovers as we stand at the edge of an entire year of wine discovery and imbibing ahead. What will be hot in the wine world this year? What will we fill our glasses with in 2012? Here’s a bit of forecasting for 2012 wine trends, along with some divulgence as to the wines we anticipate buying and drinking the most of and why…
1. Grower Champagne is Vogue
Grower Champagne producers and smaller Champagne houses are becoming more and more popular as bubbly lovers everywhere discover the world beyond Dom Perignon, Krug and Cristal. Of course we’ll never turn down a glass of Veuve Clicquot, but there are so many other high quality, great value Champagnes out there. Grower Champagne producers are grape farmers that make their own Champagne, using the grapes that they grew themselves, as opposed to the bigger houses that buy them in. While these small, artisanal producers lack the marketing power of the ubiquitous big brands, their Champagnes are gaining recognition and are the new fashion.
We’re looking forward to discovering and drinking more under-the-radar, high value Champagnes in 2012, and will continue to drink and promote our favorite grower Champagnes. The Wall Street Journal’s recent article, Bubble by Bubble by Lettie Teague, is a great read on the topic of Champagne. Lettie gives a shout out to some of our favorites, including Pol Roger Brut Réserve, Pierre Moncuit Blanc de Blancs Brut and Pierre Gimonnet Brut Blanc de Blancs Sans Année. Our New Year’s resolution is to drink more Champagne! Additional recommendations:
NV Pierre Peters Brut Cuvee Reserve ($46) “Fresh, precise lemon and pink grapefruit aromas give way to deeper tangerine and melon with air. Fine-grained and focused citrus flavors stain the palate, gaining richness on the back end while retaining a tight, nervy personality. The citrus notes linger nicely on the long, sappy, mineral-tinged finish.” – 91 pts, International Wine Cellar
NV Champagne Laherte Freres Brut Tradition ($36) – “The NV Brut Tradition is a beautifully precise, chiseled wine. Citrus, flowers and minerals are woven together in fabric of unusual elegance. This mid-weight, focused Champagne offers terrific energy all the way through to the finessed finish. It is a lovely effort…” – 90 pts, Wine Advocate
NV Rene Geoffroy Brut Empreinte ($50) “The NV Brut Empreinte offers up licorice, smoke, mint and dried apricots in an exotic, compelling style. There is wonderful richness and clarity to be found in the glass. The weight and sheer presence of the Pinot Noir is clearly felt on the palate, while cool mineral notes provide a wonderful foil to the wine’s silky texture…” – 92 pts, Wine Advocate
NV Henri Goutorbe Brut Rose ($55) “The NV Brut Rose Grand Cru is a rather wild, unrestrained wine loaded with baking spices, kirsch, game and sweet red cherries. The wine reveals gorgeous inner perfume and tons of class, with a refined, silky close. Striking aromatics linger on the finish.” – 93 pts, Wine Advocate
2. Bonjour 2010 Burgundy
The 2010 vintage for Burgundy is just beginning to enter the market. While many of the reds have not even been bottled yet, the white Burgundies are just starting to arrive. The 2010 vintage was a small one for Burgundy, which means that we can expect the prices to be higher, but these wines will be worth the investment. In general, the 2010 Burgundy vintage has a lighter, more classic style than the lush 2009 vintage, promising many age-worthy wines with great structure and acidity. Since the quantities will be limited, we suggest grabbing them up while you can.
Anxious to get your hands on a refreshing 2010 white Burg now? Our 2010 Domaine Vincent Dauvissat Chablis La Forest is in-stock and ready to ship.
Although we’re looking forward to the arrival of our 2010 Burgundies, we are still head over heals for the 2009 vintage. The 2010 red Burgundies will need some time in the cellar, so while we wait, we’re going to continue to enjoy the approachable, delicious 2009 vintage. Recommendations for great value 2009 Burgundies to drink now:
2009 Maison Louis Jadot Gevrey Chambertin ($52) “The 2009 Gevrey-Chambertin is the best of the village-level wines. It shows tons of Gevrey character in a sweet, perfumed style I find irresistible, with gorgeous length and fine overall balance. The level of quality is admirable, considering there are 200 barrels of this cuvee. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2019.” – 87-88 pts, Wine Advocate
2009 Domaine Michel Lafarge Volnay Vendanges Selectionnees ($72) “Bright red. Deeper, richer and more complex on the nose than the basic village offering, showing aromas of red fruits, rose petal and spices. Richer and broader on the palate, offering very good presence and depth for village wine. Spreads out nicely on the impressively long finish.” – 89 pts, International Wine Cellar
2009 Domaine Jean Marc et Hugues Pavelot Savigny-les-Beaune ($35) “This is also aromatically quite pretty with ripe red berry and plum aromas liberally laced with ample amounts of Savigny-style earth that continues onto the round, supple and appealing flavors that culminate in a balanced and naturally sweet finish. Lovely and fashioned in Pavelot’s usual understated style.” – 87-90 pts, Burghound
2009 Domaine Thierry et Pascale Matrot Puligny Montrachet Les Chalumeaux ($64) “A more expressive and airier nose that features high-toned notes of white flower, pear, white peach and mineral hints is followed by rich, naturally sweet and racy medium-bodied flavors that possess ample size, weight and sap on the solidly persistent finish. This will drink well almost immediately and I like the underlying sense of tension here.” – 91 pts, Burghound
3. Locavore Trend Extends to Wine
The farm-to-table trend has taken America by storm and that movement extends beyond potatoes and carrots, encompassing wine consumption as well. As Americans become more conscientious when it comes to their carbon footprint, we’re sure to see a rise in local wine sales. We oenophiles on the East Coast are beginning to pay more attention to our local wine regions, especially New York’s Finger Lakes region and the North Fork of Long Island. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, Dr Konstantin Frank is an exceptional local producer if you’re living on the East Coast. We’re big fans of the 2010 Dr. Frank Dry Riesling, 2008 Dr. Frank Cabernet Franc and the delightful, sparkling 2006 Chateau Frank Blanc de Blancs.
4. Organic and Sustainable Wines
Just as more and more people seek out organic food products, over the past several years, the consumption of organic and sustainable wines has been rising. Many European wine producers have practiced organic, sustainable and biodynamic winemaking for centuries. These practices are publicized more frequently now than ever before because they have become selling points for many modern consumers. Organic wine certification varies from country to country and is a complex issue. Producers that advertise organic and sustainable practices are not necessarily certified organic. As the collective consciousness becomes greener by the day, we’ll see more producers adopting sustainable and organic winegrowing and winemaking techniques. Recommended organic and sustainable producers from our portfolio:
Flora Springs Wine Company, Napa Valley – Practices organic farming.
Tablas Creek Vineyard, Paso Robles – Certified organic.
Talley Vineyards, Arroyo Grande Valley – Practices sustainable farming.
Podere Salicutti, Tuscany – Certified organic & biodynamic.
Adelsheim Vineyards, Willamette Valley, Oregon – Practices sustainable farming.
Evening Land Vineyards, California, Oregon & France – Practices organic farming.
5. Food Friendly, Low Alcohol Wines
Sommeliers have long been advocates for lower alcohol wines (below 14% ABV) because of their great compatibility with food. European wines generally have lower alcohol than their New World counterparts and are specifically made to compliment the cuisine of their native lands, which explains the predominance of European producers on many restaurant wine lists. Ripe, over-extracted, high alcohol wines have the affect of overpowering most foods. New World winemakers (and wine drinkers) are becoming wise to this fact and have begun to abandon the over the top, sometimes out of balance, style that was the longstanding fashion. In the year ahead, look for lower alcohol wines coming out of regions such as Napa and the Willamette Valley. Not only will these low alcohol wines enhance your dining experiences, you won’t be bowled over by the first glass! We’ve already started spotting, and drinking, these food friendly beauties from New World regions:
2009 Breggo Cellars Gewurztraminer, Anderson Valley ($27, 13.4% ABV)
2010 The Pinot Project Pinot Noir, California ($14, 13.5% ABV)
2008 Mt. Difficulty Riesling Roaring Meg, Central Otago ($20, 11.5% ABV)
2008 Merry Edwards Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast ($42, 13.9% ABV)