September 20, 2013 | Touring & Tasting Magazine | Touring & Tasting
The Next Wave in Wine
When it comes to wine, it seems that we’re often chasing the next big thing. Part of the reason of the chase is that new wine regions and different wine varietals are likely to be significantly cheaper than their more commonly known alternatives, but there is something else at play as well. Let’s face it, we live in a keeping up with the Jonses type of society right, so discovering the next hit winery before your friends, family and coworkers simply feels good right?
Here’s the next wave in wine:
Cool Climate Sonoma Grenache:
A decade ago, your wine drinking friends would have laughed at you if you told them you’d rather drink a Sonoma Pinot Noir rather than a Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Not any more. Sonoma has certainly gone main stream and the planting sites for Pinot are more varied than they are anywhere else in the world. The next big thing in Sonoma though are cool climate vineyards and while Pinot Noir from those vineyards may run close to $60 per bottle, Grenache is barely breaking $40. There isn’t as much hype behind Grenache for a number of reasons, no famous movie for one, perhaps it’s also from a more obscure region of France as well, but why not take advantage while you can?
We’ve seen winemakers sharing their time at different wineries in close proximity since winemaking became a profession. A general ago a few superstar winemakers now make wine in France and California during the same vintage. Of course, smart winemakers have realized that the climate in places like Chile, Argentina, South Africa and New Zealand can show off their skills in the same way that California does. The result is that more winemakers are taking part in two vintages each and every year, one in California and another in South America where the seasons don’t match up.
The Rise of Zinfandel:
For the past 40 years the wine world has tried to find another, deep and dark red wine to take some of the market share away from Cabernet Sauvignon. It simply hasn’t happened. While we’ve seen the rise of Pinot Noir over the past decade, that has largely eaten away market share from Merlot. No, Merlot isn’t coming back. Zinfandel might be though. To start, the wine is deep, dark and often mysterious. It’s also pretty darn good at cheaper price points, so people could really learn to like it. Old Vine Zinfandel is special in two ways. First, the vines get this rugged look that other vines simply don’t. Plus, vines can produce for well over a century, making them a good investment for a winery. Lastly, the wines are universally loved by consumers and they show well in large tasting lineups, which is increasingly how people are selecting the wines they want to buy with the rise of wine bars and urban tasting rooms which all feature a ton of wines to taste at once.
Many thanks to our guest blogger, Mark Aselstine, for this piece on his perspective on the Next Wave in Wine. Mark Aselstine is the owner of Uncorked Ventures, a wine club focused on delivering the highest quality wine in the industry.