2017: what's in (the wine) store?

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Farewell to 2016 and welcome 2017!
Let's hope this year is less of a rollercoaster than last year. We're starting the year with a brief look at what it is likely to bring us in terms of wine.
 

Lower alcohol levels

At this time of year especially we are thinking of our health and trying to making amends for the higher alcohol consumption that the festive season tends to mean. As we wrote last year the better winemakers are taking note of the trend and we have noticed in 2016 lower ABV levels and wine with high alcohol levels balanced by higher acidity making for more refreshing, lighter wines. The 2014 vintage of First Drop's 2% Shiraz is a case in point at 0.5% ABV lower than the 2013 and the alcohol is well blended with lots of juicy bramble fruits and soft almost unnoticeable tannins. Delicious!

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We continue to advocate 'Drink less but drink better'; aside from the fact that you get better value as we have written about before, quality wines tend to be less adulterated with chemicals, added sugar and acidity and in my humble and non-medical opinion mean less likelihood of a headache for those prone after only a small amount of wine.
 
There are also some interesting developments in no alcohol wine substitutes. Botonique, described as "the soft drink for wine lovers", recently impressed us as it is not at all sweet like many soft drinks. It is a lovely, dry, sparkling blend of botanicals, herbs, nutrients and fruit and looks like wine. Something we would be happy to drink when the 'designated driver' or when just looking to cut back a little.

Premiumisation

We really hope that the increasing costs in wine - due to exchange rate movements and rising fuel & other costs - does not push people downmarket. The average price of wine purchased in the UK remains well below £6. Just remember that of a £6 bottle of still wine over 50% goes to the taxman which doesn't leave a lot for the production and distribution of the wine... We continue our mission to find quality wines from smaller producers which represent good value for money.
 

Organic wine

You will no doubt be aware that we prefer minimal or no adulteration in our wines and it seems we are not alone as organic wines rise in popularity boosted by the generally health-conscious millennials.
 

More sparkling wine

We recently wrote about the rise of English sparkling wine and why it is gaining the reputation for quality that it deserves. We launched our first English offering with Lyme Bay's Classic Cuvée 2013 which went down very well on Christmas morning at Wines With Attitude Towers.
Lyme Bay Classic Cuvee from Wines With Attitude.jpgAs an aside English still wines are improving too. Still a little way behind sparkling wines in our opinion but a few years ago we would not have touched the still offerings and now we are trying a few to see if there are any to add to the portfolio. After all English wines are looking good value these days with most exchange rate movements since Brexit.

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Consumption of Prosecco as predicted declined a little in 2016 and we expect this to continue in 2017. Other sparkling wines like Crémants, Cava and Cava-lookalike Penedès are upping their game. Before Christmas we saw a resurgence of interest in Italian sparkling wine, Moscato d'Asti. In fact we sold out completely. It is perfect to drink with most desserts, being slightly sweet and yet is amazingly crisp. The added bonus is it's low alcohol level c. 5%. We will be getting more in the warehouse for those keen to give it a try.
 

Rising regions ...

... include South Africa especially at the higher end of the market. We have been amazed at our South African Bordeaux Blend, La Vierge Nymphomane, which has developed beautifully. We got close to sourcing an amazing range of Canadian wines in 2016 but it did not make economic sense so we continue our search as there are some amazing examples especially of Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Franc. China is now the 8th largest wine producer in the world yet little is seen on UK shelves. It's only a matter of time...
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New colours 

Orange wine has been around for a couple of years. It's made by keeping fermenting white wine in contact with the grape skins and pips for longer than usual. It is fairly niche but has its proponents. We expect to see orange wine more widely available in 2017. That we can cope with...
Fortunately blue wine which emerged in 2016 is not expected to be as popular - surely that's just not right?!

Enjoy!

© Wines With Attitude Limited, www.wineswithattitude.co.uk

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Lindsay Cornelissen DipWSET is passionate about good quality wine and set up her online wine business, Wines With Attitude, to share that passion with other wine lovers.

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