Wine Trends 2017

A year back, I did a post about 2016 wine trends and predicted the following: Orange wine overtaking rosé; Urban wineries gaining attention (attention yes, volume no), and Coravin making rare wines by the glass more affordable. Was I right? I am not sure. Perhaps it is just me that has had my eyes open for these things, but I feel that all predictions have walked with me through the whole year. But past is the past and I think it is interesting to look at what is going to be big this year. So, I went wild on google and collected a few trends that I think I will at least be following in 2017.

The rise of sparkling red

This fall I wrote about my new-found curiosity for sparkling red wines. I have never been a fan of Lambrusco, and perhaps never will be, but suddenly many restaurants I visited had lovely, light sparkling reds from France (Loire) and Germany on the menu as aperitifs. This happened in restaurants in several countries (Finland and Spain), so it is not just a regional phenomena. Thus, I predict sparkling reds to be hot hot hot in 2017. There has also been some noise about Loire rising up as the trendy region of the year, so this could add up to a perfect combination.

The year of Portugal? – Focus on lesser known grape varieties

Me and M have been fans of Portugal for many years now. In 2015 M did a road trip, driving from Porto all the way down to Beira Interior and back. Regions like Dão are still relatively unknown to the masses, however, the average consumers have started drifting beyond their Merlots and Sauvignon Blancs, and are now interested in varieties such as Verdejo and Alvarinho. Portugal is especially interesting for its field blends from pre-phylloxeira vineyards. There might be something like 50 different varieties growing in those fields, and the wines that are born from them are interesting. So, perhaps it is finally the year of Portugal. Time to boost up the sales!

Movement of wine – exchange rates and barriers to trade

2016 was a significant year in global politics. I will not contribute my opinion to that discussion, at least not on the blog (especially not on the blog), but what is interesting from a wine-perspective is how will everything that has happened impact the movements of wine? I am more thinking of exchange rates and barriers to trade. I am already now distancing myself from US wines due to the strong dollar (and weak Swedish krona), and keeping to the old world, that is close and still moving freely within the EU. Brexit has not yet happened (I mean the concrete separation…the divorce has just been declared), but I wonder what will happen to the now thriving UK wine market? Will the rise of English sparkling come to a halt due to uncertainty? All in all, these things are hard to predict (I would be a millionaire if I could), but, my best guess is that people will be looking increasingly closer to home for good wines. Loire, I think, will be one of the areas I will be obsessing about in 2017.

xx Soile

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The Rise of Sparkling Red Wine

Have you noticed, that I have lately been experimenting with some sparkling red wines. As a firm non-fan of Lambrusco, I never saw the day coming. It just kind of sneaked on me, starting an innocent glass of sparkling red ordered by accident in Barcelona. Last week, I found myself actually craving for a sparkling red aperitif when presented with an option of a bubbly spätburgunder. It was so fresh with notes of red berries, blackcurrant in particular – perfect fall wine. Wtf I say! However, just as with orange wine, this trend could not be ignored. So I did a bit of digging into different types of sparkling red wines on the market to get more acquainted with my (future) obsession. Most of these babies come from Italy, but I am sure the trend will spill over some borders. It already has.  Continue reading “The Rise of Sparkling Red Wine”

Wineweek 74: Portugal on my Mind

The week has been exhausting. Not that I have been doing any heavy lifting. However, I have had to concentrate 24/7 on work. All good stuff, but just too much at the same time. Or wait a minute. Perhaps I can call that heavy lifting after all. Having to use your brain at such a high capacity can feel like you have a backpack filled with rocks on your shoulders. So when Friday came, I was feeling relieved. That first glass of bubbly Friday evening tasted better than ever. I am not a comfort drinker, but this time a glass of wine was just what I needed to relieve the stress. I also received a guest from Finland, so the rest of the weekend was all set t be awesome.  Continue reading “Wineweek 74: Portugal on my Mind”

The Spring Rose Special

I don’t really think Sweden is a rose country. Not in the way for example Spain is. However, in the spring there is some kind of wacky rosé-fever. Everyone wants to start drinking it around the time of April. The season will peak by mid-June, and no one will even look at a bottle of rose after August. If you are interested in a short introduction of how rose is made, you can have a peak at this earlier post on the topic Continue reading “The Spring Rose Special”

Wineweek 73: The First Signs of Spring

There is light at the end of the tunnel. The tunnel being the long winter in the Nordic countries. Temperatures have risen close to +10 C, and we have had several days with clear blue skies. The best time of the year is approaching: Summer. Spring and summer mean an increased consumption of rose and crispy white wines. That is why this Saturday we arranges a rose tasting for some of our friends.  Continue reading “Wineweek 73: The First Signs of Spring”

Tips for Booking a Wine Trip

Last weekend I attended the Nordic Travel Exhibition in Helsinki. I was there to market my home city, Stockholm, however ended up on stage talking about wine. How did that happen? Well that I will save for another post. But long story short, I was on stage interviewing two fun ladies who had been living one in Barcelona and one in Lisbon for a large part of their lives, on wine-travel. We discussed the wine culture in both cities/countries, wine opportunities and most interestingly where and how to do wine-travel. I thought I would share some of the highlights of that discussion with you today on how to organize a successful wine-trip. There are of course organized tours, but the recommendations below focus on if you want to plan your trip yourself (which I always do). Continue reading “Tips for Booking a Wine Trip”

Wineweek 54: November Moments

November is a dark month. Here in Sweden the sun rises around 9am and starts setting already at 3pm. During the darkest time of the year, there is only around five to four hours of daylight during the day. It’s dark when you head to the office and dark again when you are finished with work. Not to mention the cold wind and rain that is characteristic for NOvember in the Nordics. Without good wine, this would be a very depressing time of the year.

This week was not much different than many others. Perhaps we had a tad more bad luck with out business than we usually do. Firstly, our Port-wines never arrived to their final destination. The parcel company had sent them to Poland by mistake. Poland (!!), how is it even possible to mistake that with Sweden? After some heated email conversations, the wines were eventually returned to Portugal. The packages were severely damaged as well as a few bottles of white port nicked. This was very disappointing of course, but it happens in our line of business (transporting fragile goods). Luckily the parcel company was very responsive regarding our complaints and promised to compensate us for the damaged wines (they exceeded our expectations). However, even though we will not incur monetary loss, the Ports must wait to be sold another day. We also had an issue with our deliveries from Denmark to Sweden (what kind of truck-curse has been bestowed upon me?). However, that was solved within a few hours and caused no further harm.

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Trying out our new Nebiolos from Gordona
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Dinner at Backfickan Djuret
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Champagne with friends on Saturday
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Ending Saturday evening with a beer at Brewdog

Otherwise we did some nice wining and dining this week. We headed out to Djurets Backficka on Friday. Djuret is a restaurant in the old town, that specializes in one animal at a time. Basically everything that they have on the menu comes from the same species. There is this kind of nose to tail idea behind it, but the cuisine is quite classical. No weird shit. A backficka is the no-reservations side of a restaurant, usually the bar or other separate more casual space in the restaurant.

On Saturday we tasted some wines: Larmandier-Bernier Lattitude Champagne, Bonnaire 2005 Blanc de Blancs and one of our last bottles of the Francoise Bedel Cuvee Robert Winer 1996. The Bonnaire 2005 having spent a few years in our cellar had significantly improved (already). I think we bought a few cases of this due to Richard Julin giving it a very inspiring forecast (96/100). We did not drink all of these ourselves, we had some help. After the tasting we went for some nice refreshing beers at the Brewdog bar close to Friedhemsplan. I must say a nice lager after all of that semi-acidic champagne tasted really nice. Somehow even healing. Brewdog also has some light and non-alcoholic beers, so one could enjoy the drinks without adding more kilometers on the Sunday hangover. It wasn’t that bad, but I am dead tired.

The coming week will be our last whole week in Sweden in 2015. On the 9th of December we hop on a plane to Bangkok to start our winter vacation. Oh my God I am looking forward to it. Five weeks in Asia will of course mean some wine-deprived weeks again. Last year it was not until we made it to Singapore that we actually were able to have some nice (decent) wine. This year I expect nothing to have changed. So beer and cocktails it is this Christmas.

It will be a tough week at work. However, I do hope that I have energy and inspiration to write some interesting stuff about wine. Perhaps it is time for some more restaurant reviews this week..

Cheers! Soile

Grape-Love: Albariño

As we are quite fond of Spanish and Portuguese wines, we have crossed ways with Albariño (or Alvarinho in Portuguese) many times. It is a variety of white grape grown in northwest Spain (Galicia) and northwest Portugal (Monção and Melgaço). The wines made from the varietal are fresh with mineral notes and high acidity. Even though the grape comes from areas that have heavy rainfall the local saying is “wine is sunlight, held together by water”. Thus, a perfect wine to enjoy during the winter to remind us of the pleasures of summer.

Continue reading “Grape-Love: Albariño”

For the Love of Port

Oh joy! We have just received notification that our Vieira de Sousa ports are on their way to Sweden. A journey that started almost a year ago is coming to a close.

We have had plans for including port wine to our selection for some time now. December 2014 we received a tip from a friend in Denmark about a young port producer, Luisa Borges, in Douro valley, who makes exceptional wines. Now at that time, I did not know very much about Port. Continue reading “For the Love of Port”

Field Blend Friday

This Friday, I thought I would write a bit about field blends. Field blends are wines from vineyards with more than one grape variety planted together in the same block. Some field blends might have over 50 different grape varieties planted in a mosaik-like pattern and the winemaker might even be unaware what all of the varietals are. Sounds daunting? Well I actually love (most) field blends. Even with many different “ingredients” they blend together to characterize the terroir; the climate, soil and surrounding fauna.

In the past, before the time of varietal purism, different varieties weren’t always planted separately in distinct blocks as they often are today. Growers used this as a relatively inexpensive way to blend wine and planted their vineyards as a “field blend” of different grapes that they figured would combine to make a good wine. The growers would often pick all of the grapes at the same time, even if they weren’t equally ripe, and pour them into the same vat to ferment together — a technique called co-fermentation.

Filed blends can be found for example in the Douro valley in Portugal
Filed blends can be found for example in the Douro valley in Portugal
Initially co-fermentation may have been popular because it was easier and less expensive. It required less equipment, from big fermentation vats to barrels. Co-fermentation might seem old-fashioned, but some contemporary winemakers believe that combining different grapes during fermentation can produce wines that are better integrated, more seamless and perhaps more aromatic — a true field blend is whatever Nature gives that vintage.

Most of today’s field blends are from these old vineyards of post-Gold Rush America or the ones that survived the European wine plague of 1948, making them interesting from both a historical and quality perspective. Many winemakers also believe in the superiority of old vines. Initially field blending may have been perceived as a budget way of making wine, however, today co-fermented wines made from those old field-blend vineyards still produce some of the worlds most sought-after wines.

The Winecurious also has some great field blends in the selection. Our Portuguese producer Quinta do Escudial make an Old Vines edition from their family vineyards in the Dao region. The wine is a combination of over 30 different varietals. Also, Antonio Madeira, a producer who makes just one (perfect) red, uses a field blend of around 20 different varietals. Both wines are aromatic and earthy with red fruits and herbal character.

So don’t be daunted by field blends, give them a try. They might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but you will at least have an interesting ride!