What's Hot and What's Not in 2015

POSTED ON 27/12/2014

A broader palette of wine styles allied to better quality is excellent news for consumers as we peer into the 2015 void. Wines once considered exotic such as albariño, grüner veltliner, picpoul de pinet and grechetto are now a supermarket own-brand must. Every supermarket worth its salt now has its own Aussie chardonnay, Marlborough sauvignon, Cape pinotage, Chilean merlot and Argentinian malbec. And since Eastern Europe was left out in the cold two decades ago, the wheel is turning full circle with Hungary, Romania and Croatia making a comeback and the wines of Turkey, Lebanon and Israel moving into the frame.

My crystal ball may be hazy, but I predict a strong showing in 2015 for southern Italy and the extraordinary wines of Etna. South Africa is on a high with the rise of Swartland and white blends add a double string to the Cape’s bow. Portuguese dry whites will grow in popularity too this year as we discover how delicious they can be. After shiraz, cabernet and chardonnay, Aussie pinot noir is the next new shiny bright thing to emerge from down under with both the 2012 and 2013 vintages on song for the burgundian variety. When we think of malbec, we summon up Argentina, but spare a thought for the unrecognisably tasty malbecs emerging from of its homeland of Cahors. Nouveau may be out of favour, but real beaujolais is deservedly gaining ground.

Dry riesling, dry German especially, is one of my wine favourites so there’s an element of he-would-say-that in suggesting it’s set to make a bigger splash this year. Speaking of wishful thinking, the noise around sherry hasn’t yet translated into industry joy, but the tapas bar buzz is helping to get the appetising message of fino and manzanilla across. Not everything that sparkles is champagne, and while prosecco continues its off-dry climb, for drier and more stylish fizz, there’s a fad for Franciacorta right now. English fizz too is benefiting from the trend towards drinking sparkling wine as a proper wine and not just as a special occasion drink.

Back in the realm of the classics, Bordeaux, once the only fine wine horse in town, has lost the wow factor after three average vintages 2011 – 2013 that weren’t pitched cheaply enough to arouse any great interest. It could come good in 2015 but all depends on the willingess of the ‘never knowingly oversold’ Bordelais to be reasonable. Don’t hold your breath. With Bordeaux in the doldrums, Burgundy is the hot fine wine ticket, assisted by good recent vintages and the outsmarting of Bordeaux with niche production and a grower-oriented, small-is-beautiful image. If the 2013 vintage about to come onto the market is good and not stupidly priced, I aim to report on Burgundy’s best values.

Something for The WeekendSomething for The Weekend

Night In

2013 The Exquisite Collection Limoux Chardonnay

Aldi should feature regularly on the shopping route this year with wines like this refreshingly juicy, Atlantic-influenced chardonnay with its undertones of toasty burgundian oak and appetisingly rich, buttery flavours that finish on a cleansing, citrusy note. £6.99, Aldi.

Dinner Party

2012 Harvey Nichols Beaujolais-Villages

This is utterly seductive B-V, the gamay grape seemingly matured in oak to add aromatic richness and weight to the moreishly gulpable red berry fruit, which finishes with the refreshing flourish needed to wash down pasta and roasts. £12.50, Harvey Nichols.

Splash Out

2013 Ten Minutes by Tractor Pinot Noir

Vibrant and fragrant, this is a silkily succulent, juicily strawberryish, voluptuously savoury Aussie pinot noir from Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula. Should be sipped, if possible. Around £25.95 - £29.95, The Wine Library, The Wine Tasting Shop, Oxford Wine Co.

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