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Wine Trends for 2009

wine wine tastings

Following the traditional media predictions on what is hot for the year ahead our wine club tasting on Wednesday looked at the predictions from Matt, Andrew, Mark and myself. Should I ever get the email from the others on their reasons for selecting their wines I will list them here …. mine were :

Regional Spanish Wines
Rioja has always dominated the red wine market in Spain with few other regions rarely getting the recognition they deserve. This has partly be due to the variations in climate and soil across Spain but also the self-perpetuating belief (in the UK at least) amongst the “casual” drinkers that if drinking red Spanish wine it has to be Rioja.

True, Rioja does produce some of the finest wines coming out of Spain. With their big meaty and full-on flavours and rich oak-aged vanilla tones. But the other wine regions have not rested in the shadows of Rioja and have slowly crept up behind the King and are now launching their products with equal fervour competing toe-to-toe with the big Rioja guns.

Increased media awareness and an increasing number of UK holidayers heading towards Spain each year we have seen a rise in the request for Spanish red wines other than Rioja. I feel 2009 will be the year regional Spanish wines make a quantum leap in the psyche of the UK wine drinker.

I chose the superb Valle De Salinas Jecla at £11.79 to represent what is currently coming out of Spain.

Minervois, France
France has taken a beating from the UK wine drinkers over the past years (a steady drop for as long as I have been in the wine trade). The big regional names (Bordeaux, Burgundy & Champagne) hold their own but the regionals have been suffering from the influx of cheaper, fruitier and more accessible styles of wines from the new world (Australia started the trend followed by Chile and New Zealand).

This is not to dismiss wines from the lower echelons on the French wine system (which due to its complexity is seemingly re-written every 3 hours to make it more attractive to a younger wine buying audience) completely. Dig amongst the wine racks and some true gems can be found. Partner these wine food for a truly stunning experience.

My selection was for the 2003 Chateau Courbissac from Minervous, France. This was the dark horse at the tasting and we held our breath has to how it would be received. We need not have worried as it came out as one of the stars of the tasting thanks to its complexity of character going well beyond the run-of-the-mill fruit offerings we are becoming accustomed too on a daily basis.

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