We follow trends in fashion, food, gym routines and even our choice of holidays is often maneuvered by travel magazines. What might surprise you though that even the nectar of the ancient gods – wine, is sensitive to annually changing trends.
The trendsetters in each domain vary from glitzy Hollywood divas to TV shows and popular magazines. It is not different with wine. The wine stars embodied in celebrity wine consultants like Michel Rolland, popular online shows like WineLibraryTV and specialty wine publications with the US Wine Spectator and Parker’s Wine Advocate dictating what we will be drinking either at home or at bars and restaurants, because the sommeliers not just get to drink lots of wine every day but they are avid consumers of these juicy media.
So what are the wine trends for 2014?
We are children of technology, therefore we crave something constantly new, not discovered yet, and that happened with wine as well. After the copy-cat era lasting decades when most new wine regions planted the ubiquitous Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, the drinkers got thirsty for something rather off-piste. Indigenous grape varietals are clenching their curiosity and the wine world as swift as the releases of a new model of iPhone want constantly something yet unheard of.
Italy is the world leader in the number of indigenous grapes. Have you heard of nosiola? Just ask your local wine store and try it. Do not worry nosiola will not bite your nose, but rather freshens up your spirit with its high acidity, easy drinkability and light tannin delicate peach and citrusy flavours adding complexity. There are hundreds of other native Italian grapes worth savouring. The Spanish Godello is another rising star. Eric Asimov, the wine guru of the New York Times wrote: “even if godello has not yet reached the level of white Burgundy, it makes sense to compare it to chardonnay, the grape of white Burgundy.” Even if the wines are not fooling the Burgundy noses yet, their prices are so much lower that they satisfy any open minded wine lover.
The price is akin to another emerging trend. As with the global economy, the wine is moving East. Eastern Mediterranean and Europe are the most talked about regions of the British and US wine experts. Go for some antique white Assyrtiko from Greece or bold red Rkatsitelly from Georgia, allegedly the oldest vine growing country, and impress your drinking partners by your insider knowledge.
Looking at the fit and slim people adorning the magazine covers, we also want to be healthier, svelte and smarter. Too much alcohol is reported to kill off your brain cells, add empty calories and can lead to embarrassments in front of others when imbibed in large quantities. Taking it easy with a glass or two is the answer to sticking to your resolutions. The modern wine bars make it more fun and easy with a wide selection of wines-by-the-glass. The Italian invention of enomatic dispensing machines that keep a a bottle of wine fresh longer after opening made it all possible, so many bars and restaurants equipped by these smart wine vending machines play into your health cards. The volume in one glass can differ a lot so ask if there is an option for a smaller glass.
No more exclusive to private cellars, cool design wine shops have been sprouting around the world. Backed by serious money mainly from Russian, American and Chinese pockets, eye popping venues opened their doors to public. I wrote on wine being about Hedonism in London’s Mayfair, with its blinding walls filled with wine treasures worth millions of pounds.
In Shanghai The House of Roosevelt with its endless rows of wines from all over the world ushered the trend of wine shop, bar and food venue in one. There is even a private club lounge. Asia is surely not lacking behind!
The consumers never had it better! Try before you buy is infecting the wine world. With wine shops and wine bars organising more tasting events, special wine flights and meet-ups than ever, one has it easier with selecting the right bottle for himself at home. In Singapore, the Cafe & Bar Gavroche led by a French born sommelier offer gentlemen’s and ladies’ tour, an “Apéro Chic”, “fly blind” and many other exciting vinous trips to France, while you did not even step outside the cafe’s authentic French ambiance created in the midst of modern day Singapore.
Technology has its final say in 2014. Many restaurants and wine bars introduced more information in their wine lists, and especially these with the instantly updatable iPad menus. From the hyper high dining Per Se in New York to a low-key chain of wine bars called Wine by One in Paris, one can browse through the selection by varietal, style or provenance and read in detail about how the wine was made and how it should taste.
With my WINE TREND GUIDE FOR 2014 you will be equipped to stun more people than with a pair of new Louboutins. After all wine just seems complex, but with the new tools the wine industry throws upon us we can all look like experts!
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