Wine resolutions to drink differently in 2014

Bodega Norton 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, left, and Villa Ponciago 2012 Beaujolais-Villages Burgundy....

Bodega Norton 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, left, and Villa Ponciago 2012 Beaujolais-Villages Burgundy. (Supplied)

Christopher Waters, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:56 PM ET

Earlier this year, wine writers, buyers, sommeliers and educators were called to Adelaide for a massive “see-how we’ve changed” exposition called Savour Australia. The massive exposition was staged by Wine Australia to showcase what’s new and exciting in the vast continent’s 61 winemaking regions.

The success of Australian Shiraz (and to a lesser extent Chardonnay) made the land down under the most favoured wine producer for the 1990s and first decade of 2000. Then Malbec from Argentina turned Shiraz into yesterday’s news. Paris Hilton in a world where consumers were desperate to keep up with the Kardashians.

Australia’s wine trade is still reeling from the hottie to nottie boomerang effect. The message of Savour Australia was clearly one of looking to rekindle the lost love. A fact that was abundantly clear when a winemaker enquired how I was enjoying “Saviour Australia.”

The other lasting impression from Savour was the notion that we’re unlikely to ever experience a mass success along the lines of Shiraz or Malbec. Instead of the Next Big Thing, the hungry and eager marketers in Australia and in other parts of the world are polishing smaller gems to bring to market.

As wine drinkers in Canada and other emerging markets become more sophisticated, the less likely they are to fall in line with the pack mentality that created the overwhelming success of Yellow Tail Shiraz or Fuzion Malbec. They have a better handle on what they actually like so aren’t likely to grab hold of whichever bottles are in high demand.

So the market will be open to a wider variety of in-demand varieties. The next little thing could be Gamay Noir, notably wines from the Beaujolais region of France or the cooler wine regions of Ontario and British Columbia. It could be Grenache, the principle variety in wines from the southern Rhône Valley of France, which land on our shelves as Côtes du Rhône. It could be the perennial outsider Riesling, which never seems to mount serious opposition to the unstoppable force that is Chardonnay.

Having spent time touring Argentina last summer I was thrilled to experience the great value Cabernet Sauvignons coming from prized producers who are justifiably famous for their work with Malbec. As consumers look for a new thrill, Argentine vintners are hoping that their gaze won’t swivel completely away from their cellars towards a new most favoured region or variety.

Wines of the Week:

***1/2

Bodega Norton 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon

Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina

ON $8.95 (589556)

Coming from a prized growing area in Mendoza, this well-made Cabernet Sauvignon shows that Argentina has much more going for it than just Malbec. Ripe concentrated fruit flavours make this a great value proposition.

***1/2

Villa Ponciago 2012 Beaujolais-Villages

Burgundy, France

ON $15.30 (325134)

A new listing in Ontario, Villa Ponciago showcases the bright berry personality of honest to goodness Gamay. Its simple, direct flavours, lively acidity and medium body make it a great party with a wide assortment of dishes. Pop it into the fridge for 20 minutes before serving for best effect.

 


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