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Heritage Vines, Trendy Times and the New World

Now that our comfort zone of Chardonnay, Cabernet et al has been shattered with great introductions of other grapes, it seems that I spend more time discussing with guests the most niche or small plot varietals.  Actually, it is refreshing and I'm happy to use descriptions that 5 years ago were limited to a few guests and our classes.  Although the fascination, the journey, the "puzzling" our way through the world is a large portion of recent changes in consumption, there are a few other concerns that have propelled these wines & areas to the spotlight.

The reactive nature of the public to heavily oaked or alcohol soaked fruit bombs, previously aligned with both Australia and/or California's warmer regions, has sent TWH scrambling to provide Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, Lemberger... any port in a storm, but in these cases not PORT!  Many sommeliers agree that woood use can detract so much from the table when done clumsily; it is without question that alcohol kills all flavors eventually, so why push it to the limit in each glass?  I have had a long run of explaining Maloactic gone awry - Movie popcorn only tastes good in a... no, actually it doesn't taste good there either!  Without a doubt the Loire Valley whites are on a comeback here - 2011 & 2012 have been times of Vouvray, Muscadet and Sancerre. The versatility of cooler climate wines, with their more interesting subtle flavors & less alcohol, is the topic of this year - and I have attached two great articles below for your enjoyment. With compliments, New York has really placed themselves well in this New World Market - look to the top producers for great examples. (Shinn Cabernet Franc, Ravines Meritage, LaMoreaux Landing Gewurztraminer, Heart & Hands Pinot Noir, Etc., Etc. - and Rieslings from these or many others).

Don't worry that I still propose a great Falanghina or Greco from warmer Italian regions - that's part of the "Heritage Vines" mentioned in the first paragraph.  Likewise, Spain is in our heart, regardless of temperature/alcohol they always seem to keep the balance aand make us beam! It's simply that I have always loved the concept of "food wines", a term that distributors/sales/import are just now beginning to use in their marketing. Ciao M

http://www.harpers.co.uk/news/news-headlines/12217-jancis-robinson-picks-out-lower-alcohol-cooler-climate-and-regional-varieties-as-trends.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/23/dining/red-wine-before-labor-day-the-new-rules-of-summer.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all