Monday, April 11, 2005

The Next Red Wine Trend

First, it was Merlot - approachable and generally made in an easy to drink style. Good for beginners to wean themselves on, but it was gradually dismissed as being too simple and unsophisticated.

Then Syrah hit a big boom, principally from Australia and successful for its ripe in-your-face fruit character, but California growers really overplanted the stuff and now Syrah is likely to stay in an oversupply for some time. In addition, much of the California Syrah was planted in the wrong areas, leading to pretty mediocre wine while the Australian Shirazes are becoming better known for yellow tail than they are for Penfold's Grange.

What will come next? My guess is that we'll stay in the Rhone region and that Grenache will have its day. The old world will be represented by the still affordable Cotes du Rhone and many of the Grenache-based wines from Spain (some of which I feel bad buying for just $8 given how good they truly are!). The new world will be represented by Australia when they stop blending so much of their Grenache away into their Shiraz. Unfortunately, although California makes some nice ones (Clos du Gilroy by Bonny Doon, Unti, Qupe, and others on the Central Coast) there simply aren't enough vineyards planted in premium areas to catch up if the varietal takes off. California's coastal regions (North Coast and Central Coast) only have about 600 acres planted. Too bad, as I think there is real potential.....are you listening premium-area grape growers? Plant now. Better yet, graft over some overplanted Merlot and Syrah vines to Grenache and get a head start.


Blogger Z said...

Related to the rise of Grenache - do you see Mourvedre tagging along for the ride? I've never been that impressed with straight Mourvedre wines, but they seem to be showing up on the market more and more these days.

April 11, 2005 7:33 AM  
Blogger Huge said...

This is all just a WAG on my part anyway, but I don't thing Mourvedre is going to make it unless straight Mourvedre can be made in a more interesting style. Like you, I haven't found any that were very interesting with the exception of a highly ripe and slightly sweet version by Rosenblum. So no, I think Mourvedre will stay as a blender of GSM wines for the time being.


April 11, 2005 8:46 AM  

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