Where is wine headed this summer?


Wine is becoming more about what YOU like and a whole lot less about what industry shills are plugging as the next big thing.

One question I've been hearing of late has been: Where is wine headed this summer?
Well let me just start off by saying that where wine, and more importantly wine appreciation, is going, is not just a trend for this summer. Wine is becoming more about what YOU like and a whole lot less about what industry shills are plugging as the next big thing. Last year it was Gruner Veltliner from Austria, this year it's Ribera Sacra from Spain. Sommeliers, wine importers and wine writers are always looking for something to shill and sometimes they just don't stop long enough to listen to the consumer!

Don't get me wrong - the wines of Austria are hot!

Gruner Veltliner is a great summertime wine, especially some of the less expensive, and lower alcohol, versions. With gentle peach and zesty citrus and mineral tones on a light, bright frame,it really is a perfect wine for lighter summer fare. While I am a big fan of Austria's whites, those same characteristics, the bright acid and crunchy, minerally fruit, make many of their reds superbly well suited for the summer months. Try a spicy, floral Zweigelt or earthier Blaufrankish and see if these wines work for you!

Loimer Lois Gruner Veltliner 2007
Light and refreshing with zesty apple and lime fruit that is perfect for simple grilled shrimp or fried white fish.

Zantho Zweigelt 2006
With hints of pepper and flowers framing the crunchy red fruits this is just fun to drink.

Domestic wine will continue to be strong this summer.

People will be finding new domestic wines to love, especially in light of the fact that many producers are now experimenting with a new style of wine that emphasize finesse and subtlety over power. There really is something for everyone in our United States; from bold fruity reds to crisp, clean whites the breadth of selection is almost overwhelming! I've listed some of my current favorites and hope you find something you might enjoy from this selection.

Tablas Creek Cotes de Tablas Blanc Paso Robles 2005
Big, soft and rich for a white with pear, orange and almond notes that fill the mouth.

Sokol Blosser Meditrina NV
A mini fruit bomb full of sweet fruit with just a hint of spice and a light easy texture that makes this gulpable. A blend of Zinfandel, Syrah and Pinot Noir.

Dr. Konstantin Frank Rkatsiteli 2006
Ri-kat-si-tel-ee!! Full of tropical fruits and exotic flowers this is rich and shows a hint of sweetness that is well balanced by the acidity allowing this to pair wonderfully with soft cheeses.

Novelty Hill Merlot 2005
A really classy Merlot that combines great, deep plush fruit with a measured use of oak to produce a layered, velvety textured wine that deserves to be paired with a roast Filet Mignon.

What I want to share with you is that the time has come for the consumer to have a say in what's hot and what's not! I love certain types of wine that other people can't bring themselves to drink, much less enjoy. That is the beauty of wine, so stop being intimidated by confusing wine speak. Let's work together to find wine that YOU will enjoy, and on that front allow me to make a few recommendations!

My first recommendation: Write me at gregory@snooth.com and let me know what YOU think is hot!

My second: Don't be afraid of a little defect here and there, they can add character.

My Third: Naturally made wine is great but not if it's not delicious. Wine must taste good, to you.

My Fourth: If you don't like terroir, don't look for it. The Wine Cognoscenti Mafia has made terroir, that elusive sense of place a point of contention. Well I contend that it just doesn't make a difference! Heresy, I know. What does matter, the only thing that matters is that YOU enjoy what you buy!

And about that Ribera Sacra, well part of the wine's appeal is that they are pretty hard to come by. I have to admit I am a fan of the wines but they certainly aren't for everybody. I've got one lined up on the tasting table but that story will have to be told another day.

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