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|Summer’s Hottest Wines: Tapping the Trends for Your Warm-Weather Pleasure|
|News/Features - Feature Stories|
|Written by Nancy Rosetti|
|Monday, 22 June 2009 10:56|
Though wine-making has been around for thousands of years, it is still susceptible (much like fashion) to trends, often driven by marketing and buzz. Remember the movie Sideways and the mad rush to a quiet little varietal known as Pinot Noir?
To get a better sense of where people's palettes are lately, it was helpful to attend the International Wine & Spirits event at the National Restaurant Association show held in May. The show is considered to be the most comprehensive of its kind, and is open only to people in the trade. It showcases both existing and emerging wine labels and is a great place to get a sense of what's hot.
The most notable trend was a sizable showing of smaller importers and distributors, representing independent and family-owned vineyards from all parts of the world. Hot this summer are wines that speak to the place from which they came - their "terroir." This "sense of place" comes from wines that gain character more from their geographical region and less from manipulation during production.
Following this emphasis on terroir, look for a growing selection of organic and sustainably produced wines. The National Restaurant Association's "Third Annual Chef Survey: What's Hot in 2009" ranked organics as the number-three trend overall, and organic wine and organic coffee were among the top alcoholic- and non-alcoholic-beverage trends, respectively.
Though many people are tightening their belts in this dismal economy, wine consumption has actually increased. According to wine-industry statistics, last year the number of cases of wine consumed in America increased for the 14th consecutive year, while on-premise (restaurant) wine spending jumped 9.3 percent. That said, those who are considered "core wine drinkers" (people who drink wine at least once a week, according to the Wine Market Council) are "trading down" - drinking the same amount of wine but spending less per bottle. The great news is that expensive wine is out of vogue - a timely trend, as heat is an enemy of most high-end wines.
For your summer table (picnic, deck, or dining), here are some of my suggestions, representing one or more of the top trends and perfect for the season:
But summer is not just for whites.
So for your next barbecue, bridal shower, or impromptu gathering, enjoy what's hot for summer despite the temperatures, and find the wines with a "sense of place" in your own home without breaking the bank.
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