For wine lovers, the Raging ‘20’s will be as exciting as ever with access to increasingly more wines, more varietals, and more styles. With the wine tariff debate still looming let’s resolve to expand our palates and explore new flavors at approachable price points while we still can! As a wine educator, writer, and sommelier here are my recommendations to kick-off this new decade.
New Regions, Traditional Varietals
While we all love Cabs from Napa or Pinots from Burg
undy, why not explore your go-to varietal from an emerging region? 2020 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 Australia or a Pinot Noir from New Zealand? Try the structured and supple Four Sisters Cabernet from Victoria or elegant and silky Matakana from Marlborough for delicious examples. Grenache is closely associated with red blends from the venerable Rhone region of France, but how about one from California’s Central Coast? Riesling from the Alsace is the standard-bearer for this unctuous, age-worthy wine, but the same wine from Oregon’s Willamette Valley is a revelation. Explore the fruit-forward and compelling Tablas Creek’s Cote de Tablas from Paso Robles, and the richly aromatic Chateau Bianca Riesling from Eola Hills to expand your palate.
Old World, New World Mash-Up
While exceptions exist, we generally refer to Old World style wines as more earthy, more restrained or “elegant”, and less alcoholic. New World style wines tend to be more fruit-forward, bolder, and more alcoholic. The differences stem from traditional wine making practices and the effect of geography and climate (“terroir”) on the grapes. In recent years there’s been a blurring of the “worlds” with delicious results: Old World, or European, producers continue to make more approachable wines, while New World wine makers embrace restraint and terroir-driven practices. In 2020, try a stunning example of a New World wine with Old World sensibilities and 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 shake up your Old World palate? Try Nona Petit from Priorat, Spain. A Grenache-driven red blend, this wine is amply acidic, yet plush and juicy.
Natural Niche Expands
While there is no legal definition of natural wine, demand for wines produced with as few chemicals or additives as possible by health or socially-conscious drinkers continues to grow in 2020. These wines are meant to be a strict reflection of terroir with minimal human or mechanical intervention. Only USDA Organic wines are officially regulated, while wines labeled biodynamic, sustainable, and even vegan wines vary with respect to their practices. Interestingly, wine made with organic grapes is generally standard practice in France and the Old World, especially in areas of warmer climates such as the southern Rhone and Spain. And while the natural trend is relatively new in the US, much of the Old World has produced wine this way as a matter of tradition for hundreds of years. Nevertheless, explore the burgeoning natural route with a Burgundy from Domaine Dubois Bressandes or the Petillant Chenin Blanc from New California wine movement pioneer Broc Cellars.
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 US is the largest consumer of rosé outside of France and for good reason—it’s fruity, bone-dry, and food-friendly. A versatile, year-round favorite, the market for rosé will continue to grow and diversify in 2020 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 Palais Privé Rosé, a true Provencal version in fruity, crisp, dry fashion. A stunning take on rosé—Peramo Anniversario Spumante--comes from the Veneto in Italy and is made from an indigenous grape called Raboso Piave, named for the nearby river which characterizes the region. Sparkling and complex, this stunner is floral, spicy, and refreshing.
What’s your 2020 wine resolution? Let’s learn about new trends or rediscover legacy traditions. Visit my website at www.thevinicola.com or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn about wine or to plan your next private tasting event.