“The future cannot be predicted, but futures can be invented.”
Dennis Gabor, Inventing the Future (1963)
“A New Year’s resolution is something
That goes in one year and out the other.”
By Charles B. Rubinstein
Each year at this time I usually gaze into the sediment remaining in my glass from the last drop of wine I drank at midnight on New Year’s Eve. I go through this ritual to try to foretell what will happen in the world of wine in 2012. This year I decided to change the format somewhat. Not only will I provide my prognostications as in the past, but I will also provide some New Year’s resolutions for wine lovers.
Odds On Favorites to Occur in 2012
Fraud in the wine business, which used to be rare, is an increasing problem. Producers of expensive wines are well aware that they have to protect the integrity of the wine in the bottle. With current technology it should not be that difficult to imbed a few computer chips on a bottle to authenticate the wine, check whether it has been opened, and also get an alert if the storage temperature has exceeded an upper limit.
Economy driven consolidation will continue apace for wineries, importers and distributors, particularly in the New World. Another trend that will pick up speed is the use of screw caps as opposed to cork, much to the dismay of wine snobs. Wines that are meant to be drunk in less than five years from vintage will continue to lead the way. I doubt if wines meant to age over 20 years will ever switch to screw cap, but that still leaves the great majority of wines who will join the parade to screw caps. In a strong nod to the importance of the Chinese market, more wineries will include some Chinese symbols or references on their label following the success of Château Lafite Rothschild and Château Mouton Rothschild in doing the same.
Even Money to Occur in 2012
The fad for organic wines will reach its peak and slowly drift back to a small niche market. After all the hype it’s what is in the bottle that counts, and except for a few organic wines the enjoyment was hard to find. Yao Ming, the retired Houston Rockets NBA star, released a 2009 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon in China in December under his Yao Family Wines label. Look for other celebrity athletes to follow suit and join those like Drew Bledsoe, Mike Ditka, Ernie Els, Nick Faldo, Wayne Gretzky, Dan Marino, Joe Montana, Greg Norman, Arnold Palmer, Tom Seaver, Dick Vermeil and Charles Woodson who are already part of the winery scene.
Longshots To Occur in 2012
Rosé will finally have its day in the sun. Long neglected by wine snobs, well-made Rosé offers a lot of pleasure to the drinker. An even longer shot is the collapse of the three tier system of wine distribution in the United States, but I don’t think that will happen until the Supreme Court accepts a case and rules that wineries are free to sell directly to who they want, whether it is a consumer, distributor, retailer or restaurant. I can dream can’t I?
New Year’s Resolutions for Wine Lovers
- Do not over chill a good white wine because the flavor will be hidden.
- If there is wine left over pour it into a half bottle and cork it. The less air in the bottle the longer it will last. Left over white wine can be stored in the refrigerator, red wine in a cool basement or the refrigerator will do. The wine should last about five days.
- Be adventurous and try a wine from a region that you haven’t tried before. The same goes for a grape.
- Don’t be afraid to ask a sommelier what he or she would recommend with your food. Mention some wines that you are considering and that will provide the sommelier with a price point.
- Nothing is to be learned about the quality of a wine by sniffing the cork when presented with it after the bottle is opened in a restaurant. If you are concerned about a fraudulent bottle you can look at the name on the cork and the vintage if that information is imprinted.
- Always keep in mind that you are the best and only judge of whether you enjoy a wine. Scores or ratings are not the be all or end all.
Pick of the Bunch
2009 Catena Malbec, Mendoza ($17)
2009 Seghesio Family Old Vine Zinfandel, Sonoma County ($27)
2008 Sokol Blosser Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills, Willamette Valley ($40)
2008 D’Arenberg Shiraz The Stump Jump, McLaren Vale, Australia ($9)
2010 Nobilo Sauvignon Blanc Regional Collection, Marlborough ($10)
2008 Louis Martini Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma County ($15)
If you have questions or comments about wine write to me at The Two River Times or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.