Just from this year’s crop we have the following gems:
- Chardonnay is dead, there are no new Chardonnay drinkers.
- Pinot Noir is poised for a collapse.
- Consumers have lost interest in French and Italian wines.
- Bordeaux is dead. Châteauneuf has replaced Bordeaux.
- South America wines are hot because of all the value under $25.
Chardonnay is dead
This is the classic “hipper than thou” statement. Chardonnay is dead; just because it remains the most popular wine in America doesn’t mean it has a future. After all, horses and buggies were once the most popular form of wheeled transport and look where they are today!
Chardonnay is not dead
While certain styles of Chardonnay are thankfully less popular today than in the past, I see no reason to doubt the variety’s continued popularity. The pendulum is still swinging, with many producers moving to the “naked” or unoaked style of wine, which incidentally doesn’t make a crappy wine any better if it’s a crappy wine. The Chardonnay market is in flux, but it’s finding its equilibrium once again and is packed with better wines than ever. Not finding any new drinkers? Come on.
Pinot is poised for a collapse
This one comes up pretty regularly. The movie Sideways undoubtedly created the Pinot Noir craze but some people would have you believe that "we was hypmometized" by the movie! Yes, folks, the only reason more and more people are buying Pinot Noir is because we all saw the same movie and are now having a group hallucination. Group hug, everybody! We should ignore the fact that after decades of experiments with clones, soil, and site, the U.S. is finally getting the hang of how to produce fine wines from this fickle grape. And the fact that Pinot, just like Chardonnay, is moving away from a single, assertive and polarizing style, instead offering a broad range of interesting and compelling wines should be ignored. We’re sheep and it was the movie.
Pinot is booming
Now, if the discussion turns to the pricing of Pinot, while I don’t see a collapse I do see many more value-priced offerings coming to market. The explosion in interest that followed the movie was in turn followed by an explosion in plantings, much of which are coming online right about now, pushing up production, and pushing down prices that admittedly had gotten a bit out of hand. The simple fact that Pinot is becoming more affordable will further solidify its grasp on the American drinking public.
Consumers have lost interest in French and Italian wines
I wonder what kind of wines this guy was selling. Clearly none of the Italian and French wines that make up some 50% of the U.S. wine market, with France being our number-one source of imported wine, followed closely by Italy.
Yes, people are no longer interested in Muscadet and Beaujolais, Chianti or Pinot Grigio. I mean, why should they be interested in this plonk when perfectly good Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay are coming from every wine-producing region on Earth? Oh, wait, not Chardonnay. Nobody drinks Chardonnay any more. I meant Sauvignon Blanc. Yes, that’s right.