Posted: Jun 08, 2018
Wines from Spain will continue to rise in popularity in 2018. Mencia, gamay and tempranillo like this variety from the Finca Villacreces vineyard should be on your wine radar.
With an overall rising interest in organic food and food origins, the natural and biodynamic wine craze is ascendant. Grown or made with little or no chemicals or preservatives, natural wine tends to be cloudier, fizzier, more acidic and smellier than conventional wines, but consumers are responding to that robust, unusual flavor profile. Check out Dominio de Pingus Psi, Menade Rueda Verdejo Ecologico and Valderhermoso Roble to see what all the fuss is about.
Off-the-Beaten Path Wines
Winemaker Chateau Musar's Juene Rouge wine hails from Lebanon and is just one of the wines hailing from unexpected regions you should be paying attention to. Equally noteworthy are wines from Turkey, Hungary, Croatio and Bulgaria.
Supporting California Growers
After the destructive wildfires that swept through Northern California's wine country, devastating the industry, 2018 will be a year to support the hardworking and talented vintners of this region by buying California-produced wines, like those from Sonoma County's Tom Gore Vineyards.
Experiencing real growth on the wine market are wines from Australia like 19 Crimes, a hyper-innovative brand that also features augmented reality labels which "come alive" when you download the 19 Crimes app. The criminal featured on the bottle describes why he landed in an Australian prison in this clever brand capitalizing on its Aussie origins. Pinot noir and chardonnay from this warm weather wine region continue to rise in popularity.
As wine interest grows, city-center wineries may be the breweries of 2018. Urban wineries in cities like New York, Atlanta and Austin offer convenience and a cool city vibe to boot. Austin is home to several urban wineries including cheeky, 6,000 square foot industrial-cool winery The Infinite Monkey Theorem which like other urban wineries, pays homage to the locavore trend by sourcing grapes close to home.
Prosecco, a versatile Italian sparking wine that can match as easily with main courses like chicken and pork as with sushi, continues to rise in popularity. When bubbles are on the menu, prosecco is often a more affordable option for a festive occasion than Champagne, as with this reasonably-priced Martini & Rossi prosecco, which hails from the Veneto-Friuli area of northeast Italy.
It takes a lot to stand out on the very crowded wine shelves these days. So like movie trailers and posters, wineries are doing what they can to distinguish their vino from the pack. The Walking Dead Wines, in addition to tapping into that television show's loyal fan base, also feature distinctive labels that talk back when you download the accompanying app.
Growing in popularity every year and outpacing all other wine growth in the U.S., this light summer wine has been frozen, accessorized with fruit and otherwise enjoyed by an increasing number of consumers including valuable millennial customers. Often packaged in pretty bottles to show off its pink tint, rosés like Fleurs de Prairie from Provence, with its delicate notes of strawberry, rose petals and herbs have proven especially popular with female consumers.
Consumers are demonstrating their extreme oenophilia by super-sizing it with magnums and other large bottles which are highly favored in restaurant celebrations or when entertaining at home. This Spanish Aalto PS is made from Tempranillo grapes growing on 60-100-year-old vines and comes in 750 ML, 1.5L, 3L and 5L bottles.
Catering to customers seeking wines that support their active lifestyles and who don't necessarily buy into wine snobbery that demands wine arrive in bottles, wineries like The Infinite Monkey Theorem in Austin are offering wine in cans. Also growing in popularity: premium boxed wine and Tetra Paks with better wines available in these non-bottle forms. For those who don't drink a whole bottle in one sitting, cans or boxes are ideal. In addition, more and more restaurants are using wine kegs to keep wine fresh and dispense by-the-glass without risk of spoilage.
Bourbon-Barrel Aged Wine
Vintners initially aged wine in used bourbon barrels because it was cheaper. Now it's just cool. Capitalizing on the growing prominence of bourbon in the spirits realm, aging wines in bourbon barrels like his Layer Cake cabernet sauvignon illustrates this popular new trend.
By Felicia Feaster
June 8, 2018
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