Are our tastes are changing? A look at wine trends for 2016 shows that dry, lighter styles of wine seem to be on the up. With under the radar wine regions opening up and the number of high quality, back water producers being discovered our horizons have widened. Thanks to the web our wine knowledge is growing and our palates are developing a thirst for the pure, pale and polished . . .
Growing desire for the ‘pale and interesting’
Are we heading for a trend in more minimalist styles of wine? Gone are the heavy, oaked whites and red fruit bombs of the past.
We are seeing the rise of ‘less is more’ amongst reds, roses, whites and bubbly. The rise of the subtle and sophisticated, the delicate and dry, is certainly taking off.
White Wines in 2016
We’ve seen tastes for lighter styles of wines swell with the success of Pinot Grigio (Pinot Gris), Picpoul de Pinet (Languedoc) and cold climate (high altitude/ alpine) Sauvignon Blancs. As predicted last year Muscadet has seen a resurgence as has the ultimate French Chardonnay, White Burgundy. Thanks to Burgundy’s ascendence in fine wine sales at En Primeur interest in this fine honed style has seen people searching for less expensive Burgundian whites.
The ‘trickle down’ effect results in new discoveries as wine lovers hunt out cheaper alternatives that offer quality and value for money.
The UK is now the number one export market for Chablis. Lovers of Chablis are in turn uncovering the delights of the Cotes Chalonnaise and fans of Pouilly Fuisse are finding less pricey wines amongst its homeland, the Maconnais.
Bordelaise whites, the Bordeaux Blancs, continue to gain fans as their styles adapt to fresher, crisper tastes. Thanks to the combinations of grapes (usually Sauvignon Blanc, Muscadelle, Semillon and Sauvignon Gris) these whites can be fine tuned to suit a variety of palates and pair beautifully with food. The UK is Bordeaux’s largest export market for its dry white wines. High end Bordeaux Blancs are pricy but there are excellent mid range whites. Producers in Sauternes and Barsac are changing tack and turning from sweet white production to creating superb dry whites that meet with rave reviews. The trickle down effect is revealing hidden gems buried within the wine region, bringing little known appellations to light.
Lighter Loire whites are seeing a revival (lead by the strong growth in Muscadet and increasing interest in Chenin Blanc) so expect to see more wines from Vouvray and Saumur in the UK. You’ll also see Pinot Gris from New Zealand making its debut and more dry Riesling from Germany.
Rose Wines in 2016
Rose is where we see the swing towards the pale and pastel before our very eyes.
Fashion dictates the paler the better and ‘fab and faded’ is the order of the day.
We are seeing top notch roses from France being hailed as the must have ‘posh pink.’
Rose has enjoyed a huge rise in popularity over the past years and it’s now drunk all year round, having stepped away from being the typical summer time tipple. Sales of Rose have been lead by the USA but this is leveling off as dark, fruity ‘blush’ Zinfandels fall out of favour. France has long produced lighter syles of rose, Provence being famous for it. Rose wine sales top those of white wines in France and there are plenty to choose from. We are seeing wines coming into the UK from rising rose producers across the length and breadth of France. Expect to see light styles of rose coming in from Lorraine (Vin Gris), Lirac in the Rhone Valley and Arbois in Jura.
Many high ranking Bordealise Grand Cru Classe have a rose in their ranks and you’ll find Petit Chateaux producing them further down the scale. Two styles are produced – light, dry Bordeaux Rose and deeper coloured Bordeaux Clairet (a unique wine to Bordeaux). Bordeaux hasn’t really got to grips with marketing its Clairet outside its borders as most of the French perceive it as a ‘light red’ rather than a ‘rose’ – if you fancy trying something exceptional then Clairet is for you.
Red Wines in 2016
Lighter styles of reds are taking off – Pinot Noir has enjoyed a boom in popularity thanks to Burgundy’s market performance.
The knock on effect from this has also seen a Beaujolais revival and the red grape Gamay is predicted to become a winner. Wine regions around Burgundy are also tipped to rise – Jura in particular and Savoie to a lesser extent. Expect to see more Austrian red wines and German Pinot Noir this year.
You’ll also see more Cabernet Franc wines around too; more subtle than Cabernet Sauvignon, this grape is featuring more and more both in single grape variety wines (Loire) and in blends (Bordeaux).
Blending is no longer a mystery to wine lovers and wines made in this fashion from a combination of complimentary grapes are hot property. Bordeaux, as you know, is the world’s master blender and can adapt its styles to suit the trends. With recent vintages Bordeaux has shifted to a more classic style rather than bold block busters.
Thanks to the prestigious Bordelaise Grand Cru Classes having priced themselves out of most people’s reach there has been a resurgence of interest in the better wines nudging below the greats. Eclipsed by their top performing brethren these producers are a wonderful source of high quality wines at easily affordable prices. We’ve seen sales rocket on our Cru Bourgeois and Bordeaux Superieur Clarets.
Sparkling Wines in 2016
English Sparkling Wine is big news as our love affair with bubbly has moved beyond Champagne. This change in consumer’s tastes has meant that sparkling wines have become more of an everyday tipple rather than a luxury for special occasions. The UK is exploring beyond the realms of Prosecco to encompass sparkling Cremants and Vins Mousseux from across France.
Expect to see lightly sparkling ‘Petillant’ wines from France move up a notch this year.
Grape Expectations in 2016 – Bolder Undercurrents
As the UK grows more adventurous with wine lovers on a quest to try something new the trend in trying out different wines is set to continue.
There are bolder undercurrents at foot here amongst higher altitude wines.
Long lost grapes such as the Chilean red grape Pais (of Spanish origin) are being revived, as are many forgotten French favourites. The Bordelaise red Petit Verdot grape is now being feted in Australian vineyards. New on the scene are the alpine red grape Mondeuse Noire (similar to Syrah) and the white Jacquere grape from Savoie in Eastern France.
It will be interesting to see what new delights 2016 brings but one thing is for sure; we are entering the age of plenty as far as wine is concerned. With more wines available than ever and access to undiscovered wine regions opening up there are an abundance of wines yet to savour!
Keep an eye on our website www.bordeaux-undiscovered.co.uk as we have some exciting new finds being added shortly.
Cheers and Happy New Year!