Wine Trends for 2019
Trying to predict the future is tricky business. Yet during the holiday season, mesmerised by the twinkling lights and the heady floral scent of our lemon tree (wintering in our living room as a pragmatic Christmas spruce), I sometimes gaze deeply into a crystal wine glass and venture to voice the trends I expect to blossom in the coming year.
Less but Better
The balancing act between what we enjoy and what is actually good for us continues to be a challenge. For many years now, I have found my equilibrium in “less but better”, and it is great to see this principle is finding its way in general foodie and wine-lover culture. Stuffing ourselves blindly with food and drinks of questionable quality is passé; in 2019 we aim for better: pure and enjoyable good to great wines, produced with respect for (wo)mankind, culture and environment, and preferably with an authentic story that touches our hearts as well as our minds.
Indigenous and Authentic
This trend has been going on for a while, and will happily proceed in 2019. As wine consumers, we are much better informed than we used to be, and the supply of lesser-known wines continues to grow in shops as well as supermarkets. We no longer automatically reach for Merlot, Chardonnay or Cabernet Sauvignon, and from Argentina we are just as willing to taste a Bonarda as we are a Malbec.
We try wines from Belgium, England, Croatia, China and Georgia, from new and upcoming winemakers and from less famous wine regions such as the Sud-Ouest, Jura or Savoie in France and Bierzo, Txakolí or Terra Alta in Spain. Furthermore, indigenous grapes with tongue-twisting names no longer scare us, but intrigue and invite us to new adventures.
Even though we like our beers, coffee, juices or tea – wine is more than ever the ideal meal partner. A good glass pairs well with most events, books and crowds, but add matching food or nibbles and life really becomes a party.
Here too we aren’t afraid to explore and experiment, at home as well as in restaurants. Pairings with sparkling wines and rosé champagne, for instance. Or with dry sherries, saké, characterful natural wines or the saline and savoury Savagnin from the French Jura.
Last but not least…
… not a trend but a wish. In these times, in which good food and drinks are increasingly vilified, framed by a public and political discourse where pointing fingers trumps reporting a nuanced story. I wish us all from the bottom of my heart a warm cocoon, in which pleasure is not only allowed, but recommended and treasured. Where we make our own healthy choices, without too much patronising or mollycoddling and resistent to exasperation and bitterness. And may we enjoy those invaluable and short-lived moments in the company of delightful, heartwarming people, food and wines.