The wine world is in constant flux—palates change, demographics change, and, yes, climates change. But for 2019, one fact is a certainty: demand for wine remains robust as more wine lovers enter the market interested in exploring new flavors and buying more premium wines (those over $10 per bottle.) So why not resolve to expand your palate? As a wine educator, writer, and sommelier here are my insights for wine trends in 2019 to get you started.
Familiar Varietals, New Regions
While we all love Cabs from Napa or Pinots from Burgundy, why not explore your go-to varietal from an emerging region? 2019 is shaping up to be the year to try workhorse varietals from up and coming appellations as new wines from intrepid producers are becoming more readily available. How about Cabernet Sauvignon from Washington or a Pinot Noir from New Zealand? Try the structured and supple Hanatoro Cabernet from Walla Walla or the elegant and silky Oyster Bay Pinot Noir from Marlborough for delicious examples. Tempranillo is closely associated with the venerable Rioja from Spain, but how about one from Califhornia’s hot central coast? Riesling from the Alsace is the standard-bearer for this unctuous, age-worthy wine, but the same wine from the Finger Lakes, New York is a revelation. The Fableist Tempranillo from Paso Robles is fruit-forward and fulfilling, while La Forge Cellars Classique from the Finger Lakes is rich and aromatic. Find all these wines at local retailers.
Old World, New World Mash-Up
While exceptions exist, we generally refer to Old World style wines as more earthy, more acidic, and less alcoholic. New World style wines tend to be more fruit forward, less acidic, and more alcoholic. The differences stem from traditional wine making practices and the effect of geography and climate (terroir) on the grapes. While the two camps have been crossing paths for years, we see an uptick in 2019 with delicious results. European producers continue to make more approachable wines, while New World wine makers embrace restraint and terroir-driven practices. For a stunning example of a New World wine with Old World sensibilities, delight in Rafael et Fils Napa Estate Cab. It’s a savory, powerful, and structured Cab from the cooler Oak Knoll District of Napa. Looking to incorporate New World elements into your Old World palate? Try 2016 Coudoulet de Beaucastel Rouge. A Grenache-driven Rhone blend, this wine is amply acidic, yet plush and juicy. Both are available at Hall’s Chophouse Columbia.
White Blends are on Trend
Red blends have been all the rage in recent years with the category now out selling Merlot and Pinot Noir and butting up against the almighty Cabernet Sauvignon. Even the world’s most storied wines are blends--Bordeaux, Rioja, or Super Tuscan, anyone? Ranging from inexpensive grocery-store fare to collector-worthy bottles worth thousands, blends allow the winemaker to create new flavors while remedying short comings in single varietal wines. In 2019, the blend trend continues with white blends becoming more prevalent and diverse. Iconic Paso Robles, California producer Tablas Creek elevates Rhone varietals in the Patelin de Tablas. Sample this perfumed, vivid, and full-bodied assemblage of Grenache Blanc, Rousanne, and Marsanne. Rediscover White Bordeaux from the birthplace of Sauvignon Blanc and the world’s most famous red wines. Making up only 7% of the wines from the region, these blends of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc are delicious, citrus-driven, and lively. Try Barons de Rothschild Legende Bordeaux Blanc 2016 for a refined representation of these white blends. Both are available from local retailers.
Rosé is Here to Stay
Our favorite pink wine has proven more than a passing trend with demand for rosé as robust as ever. The U.S. is the largest consumer of rosé outside of France! For good reason—it’s fruity, bone-dry, and food-friendly— rosé is a versatile, year-round favorite. In 2019, the market continues to expand and diversify with more producers, varietals, and “serious” examples. Wine made from red varietals having short contact on grape skins, rosé originated from Provence, a region that never fails to live up to its legacy. Enjoy Bieler Pere et Fils Rosé, a true Provencal version in fruity, crisp, dry fashion. A novel take on rosé comes from Italy and refers to the amount of time the grape skins spend with the native varietals in the wine. Called “11 Minutes,” this blend of Corvina, Syrah, and Trebbiano is floral, spicy, and refreshing. Both rosés can be found locally.
2019 is shaping up to be a great vintage! What’s your wine resolution? Let’s learn about new trends or rediscover legacy traditions. Visit my website at www.thevinicola.com or contact me at email@example.com to learn about wine or to plan your next private tasting event.