There is a lot of talk going on about what will be hot in the wine world in 2016 and we could all be forgiven for not really knowing where to start. So…this is our take on the year ahead, what we aim to focus on, what wines are interesting us and how we see the year panning out.
First up- English Sparkling Wine
I know, I know it feels like people say this every year, but genuinely the quality and reputation of English Sparkling Wine is on the up. Why? Well, the more we buy the more the wine makers have to invest in their product- so better equipment, better consulting and better marketing. Also without getting too technical, history shows us that the older a vine gets the better the wines it produces due to the amount of effort said vine puts into reproducing (i.e. it concentrates on it’s fruit and not it’s leaves). That said, the English vines have a few vintages under their belt now so they are well on their way to middle age. Even Taittinger have decided to get involved in English Sparkling Wine by buying 170 acres of land in Kent, so the south coast must be doing something right. Right? Anyway, over the next year be prepared to see English Sparkling Wine everywhere online (us included) and on every supermarket shelf.
For Seconds- Something Different
After years of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and Argentine Malbec domination it seems as though people are starting to look for a few alternatives to freshen their wine rack up a bit. Take nothing away from either of these two wine regions, what they do, they do very well and will do for years to come, but it is time to experiment. For us it is a chance to look at wine regions that we think are often overlooked, such as the Italian islands of Sicily and Sardinia. Vermentino and Nero d’Avola are two grape varieties that we feel need to be shouted about. Vermentino from Sardinia is the perfect alternative to Sauvignon Blanc, delicate and refreshing with zingy acidity while Nero d’Avola from Sicily has the bold structure, tannin and juicy plum fruit to match the likes of Malbec or Shiraz. These are just a couple of regions we feel can make their names heard in 2016, with plenty more hidden around the world. Watch this space.
Thirdly- Natural and Organic wines
It’s not surprising, I mean, everything is going organic and wine is no exception. So…what is an organic wine? In essence it is the same as anything organic, no pesticides, no chemicals, no bad stuff. All good right? Well yes, sort of anyway, the sticking point is the sulphites. In the US of A an organic wine must not contain any sulphites at all but in Europe and Canada the law is bit more flexible and small amounts are allowed. Sulphites are used simply as a preservative but quite often get the blame for hangovers or fits of sneezing. So therein lies the problem, if you don’t have sulphites how do you preserve the wine? And if you do have sulphites, are more and more people becoming allergic to them? Um, well, we don’t know…you can of course get rid of them altogether but shelf life is reduced, and there is much more chance of bottle variation, but it in essence it should be better for us. So all in all there are pros and cons on both sides but regardless, in 2016 there will be many, many more organic wines of better and better quality coming into the market which is only ever going to be a good thing. The question to ourselves is simple: “Was it the bottle of wine I drank that gave me the hangover or am I allergic to sulphites?”
In fourth position- Prosecco
Yep, it’s still the one to beat in sparkling wine terms. Light, fresh, bubbly, you know the score. It is and will continue to be the UK’s go to fizz, and why not, it’s great! With prices that perfectly fill the gap between Lambrini and Champagne, what’s not to like? Thankfully we all survived the dreaded Prosecco shortage that we were facing, fortunately that panic seemed to disappear as quickly as it started.
Last but not least- Lower Alcohol
Maybe not alcohol free but a bit lower at least. It’s not just new government guidelines that are behind this shift, the trend has been heading this way for a while. Some wines (Australian in particular) have been reaching the upper limits of alcohol levels for a still wine (around 15.6% abv), so what goes up, must come down. The problem with the really big alcoholic wines is that they can sometimes become off balance, and well, just that bit too boozy. So the slide back down to wines around 13-14% is not unwelcome news. There are plenty of top quality wines at 11-12% for those with a more sensitive disposition, but I wouldn’t set your wine drinking life around percentages. Just open and enjoy!
So in conclusion we think 2016 will be a year of experimentation and open mindedness with a heaped spoonful of the usual. The big names will still be New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs, Argentine Malbecs and Prosecco but watch out for great alternatives, there are plenty about and good value ones at that. We won’t forget the classics of course, the 2014 White Burgundy looks like it will be a fantastic vintage, keep an eye out for when these when they land in the UK, you can of course buy en primeur if you want to get straight in there. And us? Well, we want to make sure we bring you the best wines, best service, all at the best price we can. We’re still growing and still learning so please get in touch! Let us know what you like to drink, what the best wine you’ve ever had is, where you’re going on holiday, anything really, we just want to keep the conversation going! Happy Slurping!
Dave & The Slurp Team